By Leigh Ellen, Contributing Writer
As the Holidays approach, I know for a fact that my children will receive books. My mother and my mother-in-law are/were school-teachers. As a soon to be homeschooling mom, I have a love for new books as well.
Reading is important to our family and we strive to read together everyday. For example, our family reads the Bible with each other in the mornings and stories every night before bed. Not only does this family time teach our children to sit still and listen, but it makes reading enjoyable.
When I was in school, I felt like reading wasn’t important and it was just something I had to do. Now, I realize how amazing it is to sit down with a book and imagine the pictures in my head! It’s like escaping the world we live in and entering into a new one.
I say all of this because I dream of having a cozy, home library that smells homey and has shelves full of books on each wall. Books that spark imagination and educate curious minds. Books that encourage biblical character and morals. Maybe someday we will have this dream library, but, living in a 1000 square foot home with six people, we simply don’t have the space. Keeping it simple and clutter-free has become a necessity for us if we want to stay sane.
So how do we keep our growing book collection neat and simple while still encouraging a love for books?
Here’s how to simplify your book collection
At least once a month, go through all of the books that you own and get rid of the ones that are falling apart.
Having a toddler, we tend to go through board books pretty fast. We also try to only read our really nice books and lift-the-flap books when we are with him because he will destroy them in a matter of minutes.
Buy storybooks instead of individual books.
Is their a series of books that your children love? If so, search online to see if they have a collection of stories available. These make a great gift for Christmas or birthdays. Plus, they are usually more affordable than buying all of the books that are included in the storybook.
Take advantage of your public library.
As our kids get older their interests change. It’s hard to know what they prefer when it comes to stories and books. The best way to find this out is by taking a trip to your local library and allowing them to choose which stories they like.
You can find their favorite books this way without paying for them or adding new permanent books to your home library. We usually only check out around four books at a time and we store them in a special place so that we know where they are when we take them back.
Listen to audio books.
I enjoy listening to audio books while I’m doing laundry or cleaning the house. Since I don’t have much time to sit down and read, this works perfectly for busy moms like myself. Audio books are also great to play while the children are doing table work, like coloring or puzzles and on those long car trips.
I truly believe that as a parent there are huge benefits to encourage the love of books, and most importantly the Word of God. Educational, creativity, and spiritual benefits come with the love of reading.
When we start this love of reading early, it might even encourage a great love of the Bible in our children. Have you ever thought about this? The Bible is sometimes hard for us as adults to follow. If we teach our children at a young age that reading isn’t something we do because we have to but because we want to, it may help them become more eager to study the Word. As Christian parents, this is our desire. This is THE book we want our children to be extremely interested in.
A love a books could help develop a love for Christ through His written Word. This makes me want to buy all the books and keep reading that one story even though I’ve read it a million times before. I pray that the innocence and curiosity that comes from childhood classics would carry on into their life as believers.
Don’t let this love of books leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the clutter. Let’s be diligent in keeping this under control so that we can encourage the love of reading in our homes.
We all can find ways to cut back in some way. Be creative and make it work so that you can stop drowning in all the stuff that comes from having small children.
How do you keep your book collection under control?
If you enjoy this post, check out my other posts on Parenting with Humility.