10 Tips to Help Your Child Fall in Love with Books and Reading


karter reading 2

You can help your child develop an awareness of language and literacy skills long before they are able  to read by exposing them to books. These skills developed early in life can help set the stage for later academic success. Here are 10 tips to help your child fall in love with books and reading.

“Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 – 4 times more likely to drop out in later years.” -National Adult Literacy Survey, (1002) NCES, U.S. Department of Education




  1. Expose your child to books as an infant.
  2. Create a cozy reading area for your child.
  3. Read to your child often.
  4. Allow your child to read to you.
  5. Visit the library and allow your child to pick out books of their choice.
  6. Don’t force reading time.
  7. Read their favorite books over and over again.
  8. Don’t use reading as a punishment or take it away as a punishment.
  9. Be patient with your child and don’t trip if pages get skipped or if every page doesn’t get read.
  10. Make reading an interactive experience (change your voice, point out pictures, discuss what you see going on in the images)

Watch the video below to see my two-year old “read” to me. This is one of his favorite stories and we read it often. He loves the repetition in this story. I let him go at his own pace and turn the pages. Sometimes we read it fast and sometimes we read it slow and point out the animals and count the kittens at the end.

Shapes and Colors with Toddlers

The easiest way to teach young children new concepts is to introduce the concepts through games and activities. Young children are very hands on and in order for them to retain the information they learn they must routinely be exposed to it. There are many ways to teach children about shapes and colors and this free printable will help you get started! This printable can help you introduce shapes and colors and will give you some ideas for a few different ways you can use it.

shapes and colors

Learning and Games

Children Learn Through Play

Do not underestimate the value of play! Play is necessary for healthy growth and development in children.  Play is also one of the main ways in which children learn! Playing alone and also with others is fun and therefore children become very absorbed in it. Play encourages the development of the imagination, develops motor skills and teaches self expression. Play also helps develop children’s concentration, social skills, and cooperation abilities. Play is also a way for children to let off some steam and relax because play is an outlet for anxiety and stress.

boy in white tank top playing blue coupe die cast near brown wooden bench chair during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on

Here are some examples of skills gained through play: 

Cognitive skills – Play gives children the opportunity to problem solve (How does this work? Does this block fit here?). Children also learn colors, numbers, size and shapes. Stimulating environments encourage children to think at higher levels.

Physical skills – Fine motor skills are developed as children manipulate and handle small toys and objects. Gross motor skills are developed as a child learns to reach, grasp, crawl, run, climb and balance.

Social skills – Playing with other children allows children to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts and learn self-advocacy skills.

Language, literacy, and vocabulary skills – language develops as children play and interact with others. Through interactions, conversations,  and also when books are read new words are learned.

Learning and Games






Sweet Basil Fruit Smoothie

Try this smoothie and give your immune system a boost. It is sweet, refreshing, and delicious!


1 c coconut water

1 c fresh basil leaves (8-10 leaves)

1/2 c spinach

1/2 frozen banana

1/4 c frozen mango

1/2 c frozen strawberries

1 serving approx. 170 calories

close up photography of clear glass mason jar mug with green juice and sliced citrus toppings
Photo by amirali beigi on




Chicken Caesar Wrap

In an effort to get my kids off of social media, YouTube, their phones and video games, I require them to cook one night a week. Why? Because not only is cooking a life skill, it gives us time to spend together that we may not have otherwise. It gives us time to communicate and also gives us one on one time. As teenagers they spend a lot of time in their room, but this gets them out of their room and involved with the household. This was a simple, quick, and healthy meal that was easy for my daughter to prepare. We got the idea from the picture on the flatbread and the whole family enjoyed it. For different variations of this wrap you can add tomatoes or avocados or any veggie you desire.

Chicken Caesar Wrap
Multi-Grain Flatbread with Flax
Caesar Salad Kit (2 bags)
Cut up chicken (For quick fixings use frozen precooked chicken or rotisserie chicken works well also)


Prepare the chicken, cut it up
Mix the Caesar Salad Kit
Roll it up together in the flatbread





Spinach Wrap


spinach wrap
As a busy mom I want something quick but also healthy and filling for lunch. These Spinach wraps are so flavorful and delicious. My kids are not a fan of hummus and if you’re not either you can substitute the hummus with cheese and/or deli style meat.

Servings | Prep Time | Total Time
1                  5 min            5 min

1 spinach wrap
5 cherry tomatoes halved
1/3 cucumber
2-3 tbsp pine nut hummus
2 tbsp jalapeños
½ c spinach

Lay out your wrap, spread on hummus and then layer with veggies. Top with salt free garlic and herb seasoning.

Spinach wrap
Cherry tomatoes
Baby spinach
Salt free garlic and herb seasoning
Pine nut hummus


20 Ways to Put Yourself First

By: Melissa Clopton 6/21/18

I began questioning people about what they think makes a good parent and often one of the first responses was to put your child first and not be selfish. Reflecting back when I first became a parent, this is exactly what I did, I put my child first. I quit my job and I became a full time stay at home mom. I needed some income, and I already had experience working with children, so I decided to babysit children out of my apartment. My business quickly grew, and I purchased a home, so I could have a licensed home childcare program. When my daughter started kindergarten, I started hiring assistants, so I could volunteer in her classroom. In my free time I enrolled in college and took classes online and in the evenings because I wanted to better myself for my children. I thought home childcare wouldn’t be convenient for our family life at some point and I wanted a degree to fall back on. Fast forward and here I am 18 years later, with four children, still running a home child care program. I run my program out of a home that I do not live in so that makes it nice to be able to separate home from work life. My two-year-old wakes up eager each day to attend daycare, and my twelve-year-old daughter helps there when she can. My oldest daughter is going to college to be a RN and my 14-year-old son is an honor student and heavily involved in sports. They are all growing and developing as well-rounded children. They are all honor roll students and I am often complimented from others of how well-mannered and respectful they are. I had always put parenting first, so yes putting them and their needs first seemed to create a parenting win.

Overall, I am grateful and thankful that I was able to put my children first and provide for them at the same time. There are many ways I put my children first throughout my lifetime. Now that I am older though and my children are at various ages, some things have changed. After remarrying and having my fourth child life got busy and chaotic. I had to learn to put me first. Why? Because if I don’t take care of myself who will? I wear many hats, as all parents do. I am a wife, parent, entrepreneur, small business owner, coach, volunteer, maid, boss, gardener, teacher, lesson planner, chef, doctor, chauffeur, and well, you get my drift this list could go on forever. I’m up at 5 am, I make breakfast, pick up the house, go to work (at the daycare) I transport my children to and from school, I work my shift, I hit the gym, help with homework, give baths, stop at the store, read bedtime stories, cook dinner, chauffeur to practices, games, and gymnastic lessons, walk the dogs, tend to the garden, handle wife duties, and before I know it, its 11pm and the whole evening is gone. I’m exhausted and with little to no sleep I begin the whole cycle again a few hours later. After being stressed out and wanting to give up and quit everything, and realizing that I was taking care of everybody else’s needs first, I decided things would have to change. I realized that I was pouring out of a cup that had nothing left to pour. I had to put myself first. And I wasn’t going to feel guilty about it. I was reclaiming my time!

This doesn’t make me selfish, it doesn’t mean my priorities are in the wrong order, and it doesn’t mean I love my kids any less. What it does mean is that I can’t give what I don’t have. Setting time aside to fill my own cup will increase my ability to pour out and help others. We must love and care for ourselves as much and possibly more than we care for our children. It’s important to show ourselves the same compassion and kindness we extend to those we love. Most parents ensure their children get adequate rest, proper nutrition, etc. yet we will force ourselves to stay up late to meet deadlines, miss meals due to improper planning or lack of time or other various reasons. Hold yourself accountable and to the same standard as you would your children.

These are some ways I began putting myself first and loving me, and you can practice self-care and self- love too!

Identify responsibilities and stressors

I’m the type of person that likes to see things on paper so the first thing I did was make a list of responsibilities in my life and any and everything causing me stress. I then put it in a category whether I would work on it, leave it as is or let it go.

Get to know yourself and list what brings you joy

The next thing I did was I made a list of things that brought joy to my life. I wrote down how practical it would be to incorporate it in my life whether daily, weekly, monthly.

Make your family your team

Make another list of ways that your family can share responsibilities and work toward a common goal. In my household this means that my three older children all have a night they are responsible for preparing dinner, they have chores a few times a week, and my oldest daughter drives so I can delegate some of the driving to her now. The more your family can help out the more time you will have to make for yourself.

20 Ways to Put Yourself First

1. Spending time with yourself and meet your needs without worrying about outside approval
2. Get adequate rest
3. Eat mindfully and fuel your body with proper nutrition, lots of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy grains.
4. Learn what ways help you manage stress
5. Learn how to manage your time
6. Surround yourself with supportive people
7. Take walks
8. Read something that interests you
9. Shop
10. Exercise
11. Make time for fun- it’s as important to plan your leisure time as it is to plan for work!
12. Value and recognize your emotional health
13. Hot bubble baths
14. Learn to say “NO!” Don’t allow people to expect you to say yes automatically. Only say yes when it’s important to you.
15. Create a cozy space that is yours only!
16. Practice gratitude
17. Take yourself on a date
18. Counseling
19. Make time for intimacy
20. Take breaks and take vacations!


melissa october 2017
It’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first!