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.