Reading is more than just a way to pass the time—it’s a powerful tool for building strong, lasting relationships within your family. By turning reading into a shared activity, you can create special moments and lasting memories. You can bond through reading.

I’ve personally experienced this with my own children. In fact, when my son gets upset, the first thing he does is runs to get a book and begs me to read with him. Even if I just got upset with him and I’m feeling angry, I have to stop and read. It helps us both to calm down and helps me to remember that I love him no matter what. We can bond through reading.

Reading together has also been proven to lower stress levels for both parents and children. I can’t stand when my frustration levels are high with my kids, but as soon as we curl up together, I feel myself beginning to calm down.

How does reading promote bonding?

When you build reading time into your family routine, it’s an opportunity for emotional bonding. Your kids will look forward to those moments that they can snuggle in your lap. They find security there and it helps them to build that precious attachment to you as a parent.

Even for an infant, this time is important. The baby gets to hear new words, they feel your warmth and love as your arms are wrapped around them. That’s comfort, building a deep emotional connection that you can routinely offer.

I recently read a powerful article called Reading as Bonding: The Power of Books, written by Lauren Jones from Treasured Kids. Her story is emotional, but it’s also personal. She shares intimately about her experience as a foster parent. There is a profound and obvious difference between the kids who have had caregivers read books to them and those who haven’t.

What are the benefits of reading at home with your child?

Reading has some powerful benefits. Besides helping to lower stress and promote bonding, reading can also improve a child’s language development. According to The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, children’s books have 50% more rare words than TV shows or college students’ conversations. It is recommended and beneficial for you to begin reading to your little one as soon as they are born!

Another benefit is that reading stories will help to spark your child’s curiosity and imagination. Books open up another world that children (and many adults!) have never experienced before. Reading about space, microscopic organisms, or famous musicians could inspire them to try something new, too!

Improving concentration levels is another benefit of reading at home with your child. When a child listens to stories, they are able to practice focusing on something. When this skill is done repeatedly, it will improve. Don’t get me wrong, toddlers are apt to wander off or play near you as you continue to read (and that’s okay!). They will learn to listen better over time and their concentration levels will grow, as well. Reading with a toddler often looks like a disaster.

Read more about the benefits of reading together, even reading to your babies.

11 Ways to Bond with Your child through reading. Share great books with your kids. Learn about the benefits of reading with your child. Image of stack of books. The Miraculous Journey of Books at BrittanyDahl.com

Here are some fantastic ideas to help make reading a bonding experience for your family:

1. Visit Places from Your Books

When you read about fascinating places, make it a point to visit them. Whether it’s a local salt marsh, a historical site, or even a themed restaurant, seeing these places in person can bring the story to life. For example, if your book mentions a botanical garden, plan a family trip there. Your kids will love identifying plants and animals from the story, making the experience both educational and fun.

2 Join a Reading Challenge

Each summer, I love to host a reading challenge for families. Did you know that kids can actually lose knowledge over the summer? It occurs because they aren’t practicing the skills they learned during the school year.

Join our reading challenge to provide encouragement and motivation for your readers this summer. We will have fun (and easy) weekly challenges and PRIZES!

3. Start a Family Book Club

Create a family book club where everyone gets a chance to pick a book to read together. This gives kids a sense of ownership and excitement about reading. You don’t need in-depth discussions if your kids are younger; simply sharing opinions and thoughts about the story is enough. This can be a weekly or monthly activity where you come together, discuss the book, and maybe even plan related activities.

4. Organize Book Swaps

Book swaps are a wonderful way to discover new reads and share your favorite books with friends, family, or neighbors. Hosting a book swap is easy—invite a few families over, let everyone bring books they’ve enjoyed, and exchange them. Not only is this a great way to bond through reading with your family, It’s a great way to build a community of readers and introduce your family to a variety of genres and authors.

5. Plan Reading Dates

Set aside time for reading dates with a family member, friends, or your kids. Find a cozy spot, grab a hot beverage, and enjoy reading together. This can be a quiet, relaxing way to spend time together while immersed in your own stories. Plus, it’s a great excuse to explore new coffee shops or parks in your area.

6. Explore Literary Adventures

One of my favorite ways to bond through reading is exploring literary adventures. Expand your reading adventures beyond the pages of a book. Visit bookstores, attend author events, or explore literary landmarks. These activities can make reading feel like an adventure, creating wonderful memories and sparking a lifelong love of books.

We attend our public library’s story time each Tuesday and it has easily become one of our favorite days of the week! We also love to explore places that we’ve read about, which is another type of adventure.

7. Create a Reading Nook

Designate a special spot in your home as a reading nook. It could be a cozy corner with bean bags, blankets, and a bookshelf. Encourage your kids to spend time there with their favorite books. Having a dedicated space for reading can make it feel like a special activity and a place where you can bond over stories.

During a rainy day, I love to pull out my kids’ tent and set it up so they can read inside. It’s an easy way to make the most of a day spent inside, but also encourage them to read in a different way.

8. Read Aloud Together

Reading aloud isn’t just for little kids. Families can enjoy the experience of sharing a story together, no matter the age. In fact, according to Jim Trelease, a child’s silent reading comprehension level does not match up to their listening to reading comprehension level until they are in the 8th grade. Even though they are able to read on their own, there are still so many benefits to listening to a story!

Choose books that appeal to all ages and take turns reading aloud. This can be especially fun with adventure stories or classics that everyone loves.

9. Incorporate Books into Daily Life

Find ways to incorporate books into your daily routines. Whether it’s reading a bedtime story every night, having a book-themed dinner where you cook food from the story, or even acting out scenes from a book, making reading a part of your daily life reinforces its importance and makes it a shared experience.

10. Use Reading as a Reward

Turn reading into a special treat. Instead of screen time, reward your kids with extra reading time or a trip to the bookstore. This not only makes reading something to look forward to but also associates it with positive experiences. It’s important that you kids know you value reading!

11. Celebrate Book-Related Holidays

Take advantage of book-related holidays like World Book Day or Dr. Seuss Day to celebrate reading. Plan themed activities, dress up as favorite book characters, and enjoy special storytimes. These celebrations can be a fun way to make reading exciting and special for the whole family.

Bond Through Reading

By incorporating these ideas into your family life, you can make reading a cherished activity that strengthens your relationships and creates lasting memories. You can bond through reading! Comment below with some of your family reading traditions.