Monday, October 4, 2021

How To Create A Kid-Friendly Reading Nook

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

If you want to keep your kids’ screen time to a minimum, you need to give them an alternative. Books are probably the most obvious alternative. They’re affordable (sometimes free), fairly easy to store, and great for self-development. Books can help with everything from reading skills for kindergarteners to life skills for teenagers.

Some kids just naturally love reading but many need a little push in the right direction. That’s understandable given all the other options kids have these days. Creating a cozy, kid-friendly reading nook can really help to make it easier to get them away from screens. What’s more, even kids who love reading will appreciate it. Here are some tips to help.

Think about privacy

When it comes to reading, privacy isn’t so much about being out of sight. It’s about having peace from interruptions and a reasonable amount of quiet. Corners are often the best place for reading nooks because they generally have a fair bit of privacy. Walls are also useful for soundproofing.

If you don’t have a handy corner to use, then maybe you could create some kind of semi-enclosed area in some other way. For example, you could try hanging a couple of curtains from a ceiling. These could be opened when your kids want privacy to read and then pushed out of the way when they’re busy with something else.

It’s worth taking some time to think about the options here because your kids’ reading nook could easily become their sanctuary when they want a little “me time”. Ideally, they should be able to use it as a private space even when the house is being used for family gatherings.

This means that you want barriers that go at least as high as your tallest kid’s head when they’re seated. Higher is better. Floor-to-ceiling is best of all. You can still keep an eye on your kids by coming round to see them from the front.

Give them proper seats

Give your kids the sort of seats you’d want to sit and read in yourself, only sized to fit them. Whatever you choose, make sure it has back support. Ideally, it should have padding but you can always make a hard seat more comfortable with cushions.  

Forget about using “occasional seating” like poufs, floor cushions, and storage ottomans. It may look cute in pictures but it isn’t something you or your kids would want to sit on for long in real life. That said, storage ottomans can still have their uses. They can be handy side tables for kids and a place for them to put stuff without it cluttering up their reading nook.

Make sure they have plenty of light

The more enclosed your kids’ reading nook is, the less light it’s going to get. What’s more, most, if not all of that light is going to come from the front. That means it’s probably going to hit the back or side of a book rather than the pages. You can deal with this by putting some regular lighting in your kids’ book nook. Just make sure that they can use it themselves.

Another option would be to use battery-operated lighting. This can go anywhere including at kid-height on walls. Most of it is very easy to operate even for children. You just need to check on the batteries every now and again.

It’s really important that your kids have suitable light for reading otherwise their eyes could get very tired very quickly. This can make them feel mentally tired while they’re still physically alert. That’s a recipe for cranky kids.  

Putting the books together

If your kids are going to be sharing their reading nook with adults, then make sure that their books are at their level. With younger children, it’s best if books can be stored with their sides facing out as this makes them easier to grasp. If this isn’t possible then storing books on their sides with the spines facing out is the next-best option.

If kids have their own reading nook, then it’s great if they can have a proper kids’ bookcase. These are designed to make it easy for kids to take out and put back books. They’re also often freestanding. This can be useful if your walls are already mostly in use for storage. Some can even be moved around for extra flexibility.

The nature of children’s bookcases means that they generally hold fewer books than similarly-sized adult bookcases. This can, however, be an opportunity for you. You can oversee what books go onto the bookcase. So, for example, you can mix books you’d like your children to read with their established favorites.

This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind

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