Most youngsters love books, and we parents love the snuggle time that comes with reading together. It’s a great way to wrap up a day.

As with most of their things, kids have definite opinions about which books they love. My first child wanted us to read a Barney board book to her every night when she was a toddler. It wasn’t my first choice, but her enthusiasm was contagious. She’s now 24, and we’ve kept that one Barney board book in her memorabilia box.

There is a sweet spot for the number of kids books we kept in our house. It will differ from family to family, but you want to make sure there are enough to give them options but not so many that they take over the house. Below are some tips.

1. To facilitate a love of reading, you need to make it easy for kids to find their favorite books.

If your child reads in bed, then a bedside basket or nightstand that can hold their favorite books would be perfect. It you read together on the couch, then have a few books nearby. It makes it easy to snuggle up with a favorite.

2. Keep the number of books in these spaces manageable.

Little ones who can’t read words identify books by color. If you’re organizing books on a shelf, keep in mind that having them in color order, like a rainbow, will help a young toddler identify their desired book in the collection.

Too many books can be overwhelming to a child. It makes it hard to find a book they want to read. You’ll know you have too many books if there’s always a mess on the floor when your child goes to find a book, and cleaning up the books is a struggle.

3. Fewer is better.

A bookshelf or closet with all the extra (non-active) books can help you keep an eye on the number of books in your household if you don’t have a home library.

As kids travel through reading levels, you’ll go from reading board books to chapter books in a matter of a few years. When kids outgrow or lose interest in certain books, it’s a great opportunity to pass them on to neighbor kids, friends, schools or libraries.

Another fun option is a book exchange where each child brings a set number of books and everyone takes turns picking one they’d like to read until everyone has what they want. Any extras can be donated.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Momaha Magazine.

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