Books are such an important part of my life, and now in the life of my daughter. We read every day, both together and separately. I won’t lie, our book collection may be a little out of control! However, I love introducing her to new books and there are lots of ways that the people in our lives have made books a fun tradition. Whether you are just starting a library or already have years of reading together, there are several ways you can make books exciting for kids. These are some of our favorite book traditions. Some have already been started for my daughter and some I hope to start in the future!
Books Before Baby
Baby Shower Books – My sister and my mother are avid bookworms like I am, so it was important for us to start my daughter off with a great library full of books. When they threw me a baby shower to honor my little one, they asked our friends and family to bring a book for her library instead of a card. This started us out with a nice little library of books. My sister even found adorable Winnie the Pooh themed bookplates for guests to write a special message on and stick inside the book. I love when we come across one of the books in our daily reading and see a message from a loved one inside.
Baby Shower Gifts – It has long been a tradition of our family to give books as shower gifts. We love sharing some of our favorites so that they can enjoy reading with their little ones, just like we do. With all of the new subscription boxes available now, I have seen several companies which now offer gift subscriptions, allowing friends and family members to gift a family with new books to read every month.
Books for Babies
Buying Books while Pregnant – This is a tradition that I wish I had done while I was pregnant with my daughter. There are so many heartfelt books out there about the love between a mother and a child (I recently published a list of some great ones here). Buy a new book for your unborn baby every month while you are pregnant. You can practice reading to your baby, or save them up. Write an inscription on the inside of each book so you can share your thoughts and your dreams for your child for years to come.
Celebrating the Monthly Milestones – This is a tradition that my daughter’s godmother started for her when she was born. She doesn’t live near us, so every month on my daughter’s birthday, she sent her a package of new books. When she was old enough to recognize what the package meant, she was so excited to see what was inside. When she sent them with a gift message through Amazon, I taped the message on the inside of the book. Now when she opens the book and sees the message, she knows that her godmother is thinking of her!
Books for Special Occasions
Holiday Books – If you are a regular reader on the blog, you know that I love holiday books! I believe that books provide a great way to teach kids about the traditions and symbols of holidays, so I frequently offer suggestions of great holiday books to share. I try to purchase a new book for each holiday, so that each season I can rotate out our books and we can read about the next holiday.
Books for Big Milestones – There are so many amazing children’s books out there these days, so it is not difficult to find a great book about any milestone in a child’s life. To celebrate the big milestones, you could purchase a new book and write an inscription or memory inside. This could include losing a tooth, starting at a new school, winning/participating in a science fair, taking dance lessons, starting a new sport, etc. The options are endless! You could share these books with your kids as you purchase them, or save them up to give to them when they are older. How fun would it be to look back at this library of books celebrating the milestones in your life?
Some great options for this include:
Books for Big Events
Preparing Kids for What’s to Come – Books are an amazing tool to prepare kids for big changes or events in their lives. When we have something big coming up that I need to prepare my daughter for, I like to use a great book to introduce her to it. Recently my daughter had her first trip to the dentist. For several days before we went, we talked about the dentist office and read books about trips to the dentist. By the time we made it to the office, she knew exactly who she was there to see and what the dentist was going to do. Now it has become a tradition to read her dentist and doctor books whenever we are preparing for another office visit.
When I was little, my parents used books to introduce big events to us as well. I still have the book they gave me to prepare me for my little sister being born. Reading books about a new baby helped me make the transition to becoming a big sister. They also purchased books for my sister and I before we got a dog. By giving kids the opportunity to learn about big events through books, you can help ease them into it. They will also be able to look back at the big events in their life through their collection of books.
Books as Souvenirs
Books from Trips – My parents love to travel, and they love to bring presents back for my daughter. When she was first born, they decided that their new vacation tradition would be to find a book about the area they are visiting and bring it home for her. My mother loves a challenge, so while it may be difficult, they have managed to find one on each of their trips so far. When they bring the book home, she types up a message for my daughter, sharing fun tidbits about their trip and sticks it into the book. My sister has also started to take part in this tradition, bringing my daughter a book from her recent trip to Scotland. I love that she is able to learn about all of these amazing places, while knowing that her grandparents and aunt are thinking about her.
Books for Travels
Books for Traveling – I have vivid memories of packing “car bags” for our vacations as a kid. I always fit as many books, notepads and activity books as possible into a bag, assuming that I would read through everything in the first hour and get bored. (My sister and I would bring 2-3 books in the car if we were traveling to visit family 45 minutes away, so for long trips we would go nuts).
It became a tradition for us to go to the bookstore before going out of town so we could stock up on new books to read. Not being allowed to read them until we left on vacation made us excited for the traveling part! It didn’t matter if we had a 6 hour car ride, because we knew that we had new books just waiting to be read. I still continue this practice whenever I travel (right down to not allowing myself to read them until the vacation begins)! You can also prepare kids for a vacation by reading books about the places you will go or the things you will do. I recently posted a list of books on transportation that may help prepare kids for upcoming trips.
Books as Memories
Teachers Signing a Book – This idea is something you have probably seen floating around social media, and it is definitely something I want to try to do for my daughter. Pick out an inspirational picture book for your child. Each year, have their teachers, coaches, Scout leaders, etc, write a special message on one of the pages. Give them the book when they graduate from high school.
Books & School
First Day of School Books – The first day of school can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time for kids. To start the new year off on the right foot, share a special book the night before. There are lots of great books about the first day of school, and sharing one together can provide you with a fun tradition to look forward to. Plus, summer can wreak havoc on our routines, so settling in together to share a book before bed can help get everyone back on a good schedule for the school year.
Books for Good Report Cards – When we were kids, our parents rewarded our good grades with a trip to the bookstore. We loved browsing through all of the books and selecting a special one to take home. By recognizing our accomplishments, it made us proud and encouraged us to work hard. Plus our reward lead to more reading and learning! Win-win for everyone!
There are so many fun ways that you can incorporate books and reading into your child’s life in fun and interesting ways. I have such fond memories of receiving books for special occasions or as a reward for my hard work, and I hope that my daughter will too. Do you have any book traditions in your family? Share in the comments!