Enjoying the newspaper

Love to read the morning paper?  Finding it difficult to find the time with a busy toddler climbing over you at breakfast?  Here’s a tip that buys me a little time to catch up on the news and enjoy the morning ritual with my toddler at the same time.

I read the paper *with* him.  When he was a little baby, I often read it *to* him, but he’s too big now to be interested much in the local news and too little for the op-ed page.  What we do now is a two-parter.  First, we browse the Metro and Style sections, looking for pictures of things that he recognizes.  When he spies a car ad, for example, he points and proudly pronounces, “car!”  Pictures of dogs and cats bring giggles of glee, and now that he’s a little older, I get all kinds of recognition and words for everything from moms and dads to airplanes and trains.  When all else fails, we skip to Sports and play find the balls.  “Reading” the paper, treating it like a treasure hunt, has been fun for us since Widget was about 18 months old.

Lately, we’ve been doing something new.  We flip to the back of the Metro section and do the weather report.  In our paper, the five day forecast is shown using little icons of sun, rain, clouds, and their combinations.  I point to the first picture and say, “Widget, what’s the weather going to be like today?”  He answers, “sun,” “clouds,” “rain,” or “sun and clouds,” (partly cloudy).  We repeat for each of the next four days, and he is so proud of himself!  Then we skip down to the weather map and talk about where we live, where Gramma and Grampa live, where Grandma and Grandpa live, and where the cousins live.  Next we’ll add in relating the colors to temperature. 

I would never have guessed that Widget would enjoy something as simple as reading the weather forecast, but he really does!  Fun for him, newspaper time for me (as I get a bit of extra time to skim the news while he scans the pictures), and best of all?  He learns how to interpret symbols and become familiar with reading maps.  We’ll add to his skills as he grows, but I would be happy if he simply retains an interest in reading the morning paper with me over toast or a nice waffle.  It’s such a nice moment of togetherness before we start the day.

Works for me!

10 Responses to Enjoying the newspaper

  1. Joyful Days says:

    I think that is great! He gets included and learns new things & you get your paper. Very cool.

  2. Jane says:

    Oh I wish he would be in my class when he gets older!

  3. Oh, The Joys says:

    I’ll give it a try – anything that will give me more time with my coffee.

  4. oooh! and the Mini Page in the Post. It used to be Mommy at Work’s favorite part of the paper when we lived together (it might still be, come to think of it(.

  5. J. Fergie says:

    How great! Thanks for the tip – and happy WFMW.

  6. whymommy says:

    Yes! The Mini Page! And KidsPost! Oh, I definitely should have mentioned that. We’re still at the looking-at-pictures stage there, but the Washington Post really puts some good work into KidsPost, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it with Widget more fully when he’s a little older. I’m amazed (and pleased) that the Post actually has reporters write that section. They’re building readers!

  7. George says:

    Just popped in via cribchronicles and had to say: What a brillian idea! Maybe it is worth having the paper delivered after all. I do a similar thing with my email and toddler. We sit at the table together with my laptop and he tells me what animal he’d like to see a picture of (usually only by the sound they make, but we’ll work on ‘dog’ instead of ‘ruff’). I bring up an image in a window next to whatever email / news / blog I happen to be reading. It takes a long time to read mail or write a post, but it keeps him happy and learning.

  8. As a newspaper reporter, I of course love this solution and hope many parents will pick up on it! (Train ’em young!)

  9. whymommy says:

    Great to hear from you, Sandra! I love reading the newspaper, and I’m glad that Widget is learning to love it too!

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