As a busy mom, finding time for reading can feel like a luxury you can’t afford. Between work, household chores, and taking care of the kids, carving out a few moments to sit down with a good book might seem impossible. But what if I told you that you can start a reading routine in just 15 minutes a day? Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to help you make reading a part of your daily schedule, even when life feels hectic.

How do I make a reading routine?

Routines are developed over time. One of the ways I like to develop a new habit is by “habit stacking” as James Clear teaches in his book Atomic Habits. I read this book last year and realized that this was something I have been doing for a while; I just didn’t have a name for it!

“Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit. This method, which was created by BJ Fogg as part of his Tiny Habits program, can be used to design an obvious cue for nearly any habit.”

Habit stacking works because you are adding something new alongside something that is already built into your brain. For example, leave a book in your car and after you are stopped in the car pick up line waiting for your child, you can read your book.

The Literary Moms’ Book Club

I know how time constraints, guilt associated with self-care, and difficulty finding quality reading material contribute to feelings of overwhelm and unfulfillment.

If you know that accountability and having someone help you find great books would encourage you to read more, be sure to check out The Literary Moms’ Book Club. This is a community of women who are establishing guilt-free me time routines while nurturing a passion for reading in their kids. We read one book each month, chat with an expert or author, and engage in thoughtful discussion.

Here are a few other helpful steps that will help you to build a simple reading routine into your daily habit:

Step 1: Set a Realistic Goal

Start small and be realistic about your reading goals. Aim for 15 minutes a day at first. Or heck, try for 5 if that feels overwhelming! This might not seem like much, but those minutes add up. Plus, setting a small, manageable goal makes it more likely you’ll stick with it. Remember, the goal is to build a habit, not to finish a book in record time.

You will be so surprised at how much you are able to read! A book that is 6 hours on audio can be finished in just three and a half weeks.

Step 2: Choose the Right Time

Think about your daily routine and identify a time slot that consistently works for you. It could be during your morning coffee, while the kids are napping, or right before bed. The key is to pick a time when you can consistently dedicate those 15 minutes to reading without interruptions.

Step 3: Create a Comfortable Reading Space

Find a cozy spot in your home where you can relax and enjoy your book. It doesn’t have to be fancy – just a comfortable chair, good lighting, and a quiet environment. Having a designated reading space helps signal to your brain that it’s time to unwind and focus on your book.

If you are looking for ideas on how to design this space, be sure to check out my post 8 Must-Have Reading Nook Design Ideas.

Step 4: Keep Your Book Close

Always have your current book within arm’s reach. Whether it’s in your bag, on your nightstand, or in the living room, having your book easily accessible makes it more likely you’ll pick it up during those small windows of free time. For busy moms, e-books and audiobooks can be lifesavers. You can listen to a book while doing household chores or during your commute.

I have gone through seasons of listening to audiobooks more than reading a physical book. While I was nursing both of my babies, I listened to many books in the middle of the night!

Step 5: Involve Your Kids

If you have young children, involve them in your reading routine. Set aside time for family reading where everyone picks up a book. Not only does this model good reading habits for your kids, but it also turns reading into a fun family activity. Plus, it’s a great way to bond and create lasting memories.

Step 6: Make it a Ritual

Consistency is key to forming any habit. Treat your 15 minutes of reading like any other important task on your schedule. Consider setting an alarm or reminder on your phone to ensure you don’t forget. Over time, this routine will become a natural part of your day.

Step 7: Track Your Progress

Keep a reading journal or use a book-tracking app to log your reading time and progress. Seeing how much you’ve read over time can be incredibly motivating and satisfying. Plus, it’s a great way to reflect on the books you’ve enjoyed and plan future reads.

I enjoy using Goodreads to track my reading. This summer I am hosting a reading challenge to help encourage kids (and parents!) to read more. There will be weekly challenges, prizes, and other incentives. I would love for you to join us!

Step 8: Celebrate Small Wins

Celebrate your reading milestones, no matter how small. Finished a chapter? Great! Completed a book? Fantastic! Reward yourself with a little treat or a relaxing activity. Celebrating these wins keeps you motivated and reinforces the positive habit you’re building.

Step 9: Be Flexible

Life happens, and some days you might not be able to stick to your reading routine. That’s okay! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just pick up where you left off the next day. Flexibility is important to maintaining a long-term reading habit.

Step 10: Choose Books You Love

Finally, make sure you’re reading books that genuinely interest you. Reading should be enjoyable, not a chore. Explore different genres, authors, and topics to find what captivates you. Remember, the best book is the one that keeps you coming back for more.


By following these steps, you can create a reading routine that fits seamlessly into your busy life. In just 15 minutes a day, you’ll not only enjoy the personal benefits of reading but also set a wonderful example for your children.

I hope this guide helps you carve out a little time each day to immerse yourself in the joy of reading. Feel free to share your progress or any tips that work for you – I’d love to hear from you!