HEADLINES

On the Children's Shelf: Be Kind to Yourself

During times of great stress, we must remember to be kind to ourselves. I've thought about that and how it pertains to reading, which may seem like an odd comparison, but just follow me on this. 
 
In times like this, we look for comfort. We all find comfort in different things. Some might Facetime with friends and family. Some cook. Some pray. Some read. Some do yoga. Some draw. It's finding something that brings you peace and helps you through this time.
 
Obviously, I might fall into that "some read" group, but as I thought about reading choices lately, I felt the need to remind myself to be kind to myself. Why? How? Well, sometimes reading can lead me to put pressure on myself. Am I reading enough? Should I be using this time to read classics that I haven't read yet? Should I use this time to read for knowledge on a new subject? I've asked myself these questions and many more, and here's what I've found.
 
Do I have to read the classics I've put off for years? No. It's okay not to read them, but if there's one you really want to read, then absolutely go for it.
 
Should I push myself to finish a book that I really don't like? Nope! There are so many great books out there, I would hate to hear someone dreads reading because they are not enjoying their current book. It's okay to put it down and try it again at a different time (or not) and read something you enjoy. (This does not apply to required reading for school).
 
This is probably a time I should tackle my "to be read" pile and not reread Harry Potter again. It's a great time to tackle that pile unless you would rather revisit friends in an old favorite. There's no wrong choice here. We don't *have to* read our "to be read" piles right now. We can, but we can also save them for later.
 
My child is looking at picture books (and she probably *should* be reading chapter books). It's okay! Perhaps she is finding comfort in revisiting old friends. Maybe suggest reading a few favorite picture books and a new chapter book together.
 
I feel like my family isn't reading enough, and we should read more.Once again, it's okay, but if you are looking for a few ideas on getting the family excited about reading, visit this post.
 
Reading should give us a place to go that brings us feelings of comfort, that brings us into wonderful new worlds, that gives us characters we admire, find hilarious or fascinating, gives us a break from the world around us. Reading in normal times (and especially in times of stress) should not add more stress to our lives. Be kind to yourself right now, as a person and as a reader.

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