If you’re a parent, you probably do laundry, answer the phone, fix dinner and check emails while you settle a sibling fight. Every night.
Multitasking may be the mantra of parenthood . It may seem that juggling multiple things may be the only way to do everything and how you keep your family and work life running. But, there are times when you just. have.to.stop. And do one thing well.
Recent surveys and studies show that, in fact, multitasking decreases our efficiency and productivity, and we actually end up taking longer to finish a task. The age old way of focusing on one activity at a time and giving it undivided attention not only gets the job done well and on time, but also helps get more done in a given time frame.
That said, it may not be easy to follow. Moms can’t just stop multitasking after doing it for countless generations.
However, when it comes to certain activities and aspects of our lives, I think it is very important that we give them the whole-hearted attention they warrant. With our modern day lifestyles, few of us can afford this luxury. Regardless of our strengths and abilities, it’s as if we must learn to do a hundred things at once, or we fail. Some of us may thrive on this kind of pressure. It’s as if we don’t know how to do fewer things at a time anymore. But if you’re like me, you like to take things slower. Sure, I can multitask(who can’t?), but I don’t prefer to, sometimes. But I must anyway.
Driving, studying and writing, for example, are tasks which, I like to be 100% focused on. I don’t eat or chat on the phone and can’t change my baby’s diapers while driving(yes, there are supermoms who can, apparently.) Or maybe I can, but really, really don’t prefer to. I can’t stand to have the TV blaring in the background as I try to write or study. Or even think. But I’ve learned to cope.
When it comes to reading to my daughter though, it’s a whole other issue.
Reading to Baby – Do Not Disturb
While we’re reading, I’m not sure who among the two of us is less tolerant of interruptions. The margin is likely to be very slim.
You see, I consider reading with my daughter ‘our time’. It’s the only time she’ll agree to snuggle up these days. (These impossible 3 year olds!) Pretty much the only time when we don’t argue, “But why?”,” But I like it,”, “No!” or have a negotiation session that would put world leaders to shame.
Reading time is when my daughter and I are in sync.
And I’m pretty sure, that for those few minutes, there’s almost nothing on the planet that’s more important. And even if it is, it can wait. M won’t.
So, I like to make the best of those few minutes every chance we get. Which isn’t as much as it used to be.
But even if it’s just 5-10 minutes, I think that setting that time aside just to read with your baby and do nothing else during that time is critical.
Why it’s important to separate reading time from other activities -
- It sends your child the message that reading time is special.
- That Mommy or Daddy thinks it’s so important, they don’t allow interruptions. Even from other grown-ups.
- And more than anything else, without interruptions or distractions to dilute the joy of reading together, you and your baby truly experience the beauty of the moment and the process.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you read for 5 minutes or 50, whether it’s bedtime or before-you-rush-out-to-work time.
When you’re reading to baby, read. Don’t text. Or answer the phone. Or check the oven. Or stir the pot. Check emails. Engage in a conversation with someone else. Or do anything that takes away from the magic of those few moments.
When you’re reading to your baby, let it be just you and her. Let the rest of the world fade away. Focus on reading, pointing to pictures and words, asking questions, answering questions, making eye contact, sharing a joke or a funny moment, reassuring your baby if she’s disturbed, loving the moment, enjoying the book and savoring the experience you share with your baby.
When you read to your baby, give it your all. Be present 100%.
Soon, it will be over. And you can go back to being supermom.