The Importance of Reading With Your Children at Christmastime

Christmas is a time for giving, spending time with family, and of course, reading children’s books. Reading with your children is one of the most important things you can do for their development. There are many key benefits to reading with children, including improved language skills, stronger cognitive abilities, and enhanced emotional well-being.

And, during the holidays, by choosing children’s books that incorporate symbols of Christmas, such as Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you can help to foster your children’s love of reading and create special memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some of the most important advantages of reading with your children, as well as some tips on how to make it a fun experience for everyone!

Top Reasons to Read With Your Children

1. Reading books together is a cherished Christmas tradition. Whether you are snuggling up by the fire for story time, or reading together before bedtime, children’s books offer a wonderful way to connect with your children and foster a love of reading. While few children will remember the gifts they received each year, they will never forget the time spent reading with you.

2. Reading helps children learn and develop important language and cognitive skills. Not only does reading help children learn to read and foster a love of books, but it also supports their emotional development. By engaging in conversation about the story and asking questions about the characters and plot, children are actively working out their understanding of new concepts.

3. Reading with your children can also help to cultivate a sense of empathy and understanding. Through reading books that explore difficult topics or depict challenging situations, children learn how to empathize with others and see the world from different perspectives. Empathy is a key skill that is crucial for success later in life, and it can be fostered through children’s books.

4. Reading promotes imagination and creativity. Children’s books are full of fantastical imagery and rich language, which can inspire children to use their own imaginations and think outside the box. The ability to use imagination and creativity is important for children as they grow and develop, because these qualities further help to foster confidence, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking abilities.

5. Reading is fun! Whether you are laughing over silly stories or exploring new worlds together, children love getting lost in a good book with their parents. Reading together can be a wonderful way to create close bonds between family members. It can also be an inexpensive way to create magical memories that children will always treasure. By creating traditions around reading books each holiday season, children can look forward to this time with excitement and anticipation, helping to build positive associations with books.

Ways to Make Reading Fun for the Whole Family

One of the best parts of reading together as a family is how easy it is to make it fun! Even if some family members show resistance to reading together at first, by trying one or more of these tips, you may soon find that everyone is looking forward to your time reading together.

Tip #1: Experiment with different children’s books and genres. From picture books to chapter books, there are many types of children’s literature that can be explored together. Try reading classics such as “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg or newer favorites like “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. You can also branch out into different types of children’s books, such as poetry or graphic novels.

Tip #2: Make reading a family activity. Instead of simply reading with your children, try involving other family members and making it a fun event for everyone! You could have your children read stories to younger siblings or cousins, or even invite others over to share in the reading experience.

Tip #3: Make children’s books part of your family traditions. Whether you commemorate special holidays or events by reading particular children’s books, or create a children’s book-themed gift exchange, there are many ways to make children’s literature part of your holiday celebrations and traditions.

Tip #4: Incorporate interactive elements into reading time. Whether it’s acting out children’s stories together or dressing up as characters from children’s books, there are many ways to make reading time more fun and engaging for children. You can also try incorporating different activities or games into your read-aloud sessions, such as retelling children’s books through drawing or building blocks.

Ultimately, the best way to get children excited about children’s books is by making them a family hobby. Whether you start a holiday book tradition, create a family book club, or go to children’s book festivals together, there are many ways to make children’s literature part of your regular routine and get children excited about reading!

Why Not Make Reading Your New Holiday Tradition?

This holiday season, why not start a new tradition by learning about the rich symbolism and importance of Christmas? Reading children’s books is a great way to explore the meaning and significance of this beloved holiday with your children, building bonds, creating magical memories, and fostering a love of reading for years to come.

So this holiday season, make children’s books like Stars, Stockings, and Shepherds part of your family traditions and get ready to discover the joys of reading together!

Why We Should Use Symbols to Teach Our Children About the Value of Family, Religion, and Culture

Christmas is a time of year when many families come together to celebrate. It is a time for giving and spending time with loved ones. For Christians, it is also a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ. One of the most important aspects of Christmas is the tradition of giving gifts. Many people believe that this tradition comes from the story of Santa Claus, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. While Santa Claus is certainly an important part of Christmas, there are actually symbols and traditions that are far older than him that teach children about the importance of family, religion, and culture.

Teaching with Symbols

One of the best ways to teach children about the importance of tradition is to use symbols. Symbols are objects that represent something else. They can be used to represent ideas, beliefs, or values. For example, the Christmas tree is a symbol of Christianity. It represents the Tree of Life from the Bible. The star on the top of the tree represents Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. The presents under the tree represent God’s gift of salvation to humanity.

When it comes to symbols, there are literally hundreds of them associated with Christmas. Here are just a few:

The Nativity Scene: This is a scene that depicts the birth of Jesus Christ. It usually includes a stable, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the three wise men.

The Christmas Star: This star represents Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world.

The Christmas Tree: This tree represents the Tree of Life from the Bible.

Presents: These represent God’s gift of salvation to humanity.

For non-Christians, there are still many symbols associated with the holiday season that can add meaning and significance to important days. For example, take the widespread use of the story of Santa Claus and the reindeer at Christmas time. While not necessarily associated with the birth of Jesus, in many ways Santa Claus is a symbol of giving. He brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. Similarly, the reindeer are symbols of love and goodwill. They help Santa deliver his gifts to children all over the world.

Culture and Tradition

In addition to symbols, there are also many traditions associated with Christmas. These traditions vary from culture to culture. In some cultures, people exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. In others, they wait until Christmas Day. Some cultures have a tradition of eating special foods on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Others have special ceremonies or events that take place during the holiday season.

One of the most important things about these traditions is that they help to teach children about their culture and heritage. When children learn about the traditions of their culture, they also learn about the values and beliefs that are important to their families and communities. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for parents to teach their children about the importance of family, religion, and culture.

As you can see, symbols and traditions are an important part of teaching children about their heritage, love for others, and different aspects of Christianity. By using symbols, we can teach our children about the importance of family, religion, and culture in a fun and interactive way. And both symbols and traditions remind us that even though the world can be a tough place, there is always something worth celebrating. So this Christmas, take some time to teach your children about the importance of tradition and family and religion through symbols. It will be a Christmas they will never forget.

What symbols do you use to teach your children about Christmas? Do you have any favorite Christmas traditions? Share them in the comments below!

Look for my book Stars, Stockings & Shepherds: Discover the Symbols of Christmas in stores and online!

The Influence of Children’s Songs: What Makes Them So Powerful?

Do you remember the first time you heard a children’s song? For most of us, it was probably something our parents sang to us when we were babies. Children’s songs are some of the most powerful tools in a parent’s arsenal for raising well-behaved children. Why are they so effective? And what makes them so special? In this blog post, we will explore the influence that children’s songs have on our little ones, and discuss how we can use music and poetry to encourage good behavior.

The Power of Emotion

One of the main reasons that children’s songs are powerful is because they are able to reach children on an emotional level. The best children’s songs are those that are able to evoke positive emotions in children, such as happiness, love, and security. When children feel these positive emotions, they are more likely to behave in a positive manner.

Additionally, the rhythm and rhyme of children’s songs make them easy for kids to remember. This means that parents can use children’s songs as a way to remind kids of important rules or lessons. For example, if you want your child to brush their teeth every night before bed, you can sing a song about brushing teeth while they brush their own teeth. This will help your child to remember the importance of brushing their teeth before bed.

Creating Strong Bonds

Another reason that children’s songs are so powerful is that they can help parents bond with their children. When parents sing to their children, it helps create a strong connection between them. This connection can be beneficial for both parent and child, as it can help the parent better understand their child’s needs and emotions. Additionally, this connection can help the child feel more secure and loved. Therefore, children’s songs not only have the ability to influence kids’ behavior, but they also have the ability to strengthen the bond between parent and child. What a powerful tool!

Teaching Life Lessons

A third reason why children’s songs are so effective is that they can help teach kids about important life lessons. For example, there are many nursery rhymes that teach kids about counting or colors. By singing these types of songs with your child, you can help them learn important skills while also having fun. Additionally, there are many children’s songs that teach kids about safety rules, such as never talking to strangers or looking both ways before crossing the street. By teaching kids these important safety rules through song, you can help keep them safe both at home and when they are out in the world.

Passing on Traditions

Finally, children’s songs are powerful because they can help parents pass on important traditions to their children. For example, if you grew up singing a certain song with great cultural or religious importance before bed each night, you can teach that same song to your child. This will help them feel connected to you and will also help them learn about the importance of tradition. Children’s songs with a religious message can also be a great way to introduce your child to your faith. By singing religious songs with your child, you can help them learn about your beliefs and instill in them a love for your religion.

So, the next time you are looking for a way to teach and encourage good behavior in your child, try using the power of music and poetry. Children’s songs are a simple and effective way to reach kids on an emotional level, and help them to remember important rules and lessons.

What are some of your favorite children’s songs? Share them with us in the comments below!

Secret Extra Verses of Popular Children’s Songs

Some of my most vivid memories are learning and singing popular children’s songs. Along with nursery rhymes, children’s songs provided the soundtrack to my early years. Looking back, I wonder if my elementary school was unusual in its seeming obsession with musical performances – we sang a lot. We learned and performed an entire program of songs every year, as well as learned songs designed to “get our wiggles out,” as my teachers were fond of saying. Little tea pots, twinkling stars, melting snowmen, and low-hanging ears were all featured in my early life, songs that seemed silly enough to appeal to kids with unchecked imaginations.

But did you know that some of our most beloved children’s songs have secret extra verses? Take “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” for example. I couldn’t tell you how many times I sang that song with my babies, who loved it almost as much as “Patty Cake.” So I was fascinated to learn that “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” has four additional verses I had never heard about.

The verse I know goes like this:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky

[repeat first two lines]


And here are the secret verses I just learned:

When the blazing sun is gone,

When he nothing shines upon,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.


Then the traveler in the dark,

Thanks you for your tiny spark,

He could not see which way to go,

If you did not twinkle so.


In the dark blue sky you keep,

And often through my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.


As your bright and tiny spark,

Lights the traveler in the dark,—

Though I know not what you are,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Mind. Blown.

As it happens, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is not the only children’s song with secret extra verses. Check out a full list here.

For a new take on another beloved children’s song, check out my new illustrated book I’ll Be A Sunbeam.