Bedtime reading

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The Monster Under the Bed
Leave your kids' books next to their beds. If you encourage them to read for a few minutes each night, they'll be polishing off books in no time. Even if they're old enough to read to themselves, consider reading out loud to them too. After all, what's better than a bedtime story?

Nancy says no matter how busy you are, nighttime reading with your kids is a necessary activity that can be accomplished easily and painlessly if you make an "under the bed box."

Take a shoe box and wrap it up with colorful paper and ribbon; make it special, and keep it in under your child's bed. When she receives a book as a gift or bring one home from school, add it to the box and let her know she doesn't have to share any of those specific books with her siblings or friends. "Every year, parents tell me their kids are so possessive of their under the bed books. Even if I've just printed the stories off in black-and-white, the kids think they're special."

At night, before your children go to sleep, go under the bed and pick out a book to read. Stay in the habit, even if you only have 10 minutes, "and hopefully," Nancy says, "this will set up a lifelong pattern of reading before bed."