Building Stamina at Home

We want our children to have the stamina to keep reading for longer and longer periods. By the end of kindergarten, a child should be able to read for 20 minutes at a time on their own. This requires a lot of work! Just like a muscle, the brain learns how to do something by trying again and again until it becomes second nature. For our children to build up their stamina, they must be able to flex their reading muscle and work at it consistently. 

Here are a few ways to make that happen: 

  • Keep Track – Visually track your child’s stamina so you both have something to work towards! By visually keeping track of your child’s progress, you’ll both have something to celebrate and your child can see themselves becoming stronger and stronger with stamina. This is a win- win – win.
  • Create Wins Early – if you know your child can read for 5 minutes at a time independently, without distractions, give them 4 minutes of time to read. This way, you are starting off from a point of success and “I can do this!” Notice this says CREATE wins – don’t “see what happens” for your child to get their stamina sticker, ensure that you are building wins in the beginning by only giving them as much as they can handle, and build from there.
  • Learn about Neuroplasticity together – Of course, you don’t have to use the word neuroplasticity! But the lesson is so important for a child to take to heart. Teach your child that our brains learn how to do new things by practicing. That we can always get better. That when something is hard, that means that they have a chance to learn a new thing! All of these are important messages that your child should access, so when things feel hard they understand that it means they’re learning.  I like to say things like :
    1. Wow, that was hard, that must mean we’re learning something new!
    2. Hmm, this seems hard, what a good chance to flex our brains. Let’s try it.

In an era where time spent on screens wins out, and attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, building up your child’s stamina is an important part of ensuring they have the skills they need to develop their own curiosity and confidence. 

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