Don’t Let Your Books Rot in the Loft

Keeping Your Loft Dry and Your Treasure Safe

Most of us have treasured possessions tucked away in the loft or the cellar. Are you sure that yours are safe and dry?

Even the most super organised person has a certain amount of junk tucked away in the loft, cellar, garage or spare room. Of course, where you and I are concerned, junk is not the right word. These are treasured possessions, family heirlooms and articles that are just waiting for that next house move, extension or the conversion of the spare bedroom into a library so that they can retake their pride of place in the centre of family life.

In the meantime, though, these magnificent artefacts are packed away in boxes, awaiting their moment to shine. The trouble is, a damp, musty loft is about the worst place you can leave treasured books, or just about anything else, for any length of time. A simple solution is to install electric tubular heaters to keep the temperature even and the condensation at bay. Let’s learn a bit more about protecting your hidden treasure from the damp.

Why is your loft damp?

If the loft space is damp, the first thing you need to do is work out why. Most likely, the moisture is coming from outside or inside, although there is a third option. We will look at each in turn.

Got a leak?

If the water is coming from outside, and your roof is leaking, it will be obvious, as the water will be concentrated in a particular area. Trace it back to the source, and get the problem repaired as quickly as possible, as left unattended, the ingress will do costly damage. The sooner you fix it, the smaller the problem.

Condensation from within

The more likely culprit is condensation, and this is not such an easy issue to address. Modern houses are typically well insulated, but sometimes they can be too much so. The house needs room to breathe, and there should be ventilation gaps in the loft space to let the moisture escape.

Think about where the condensation is coming from. For example, if you are in the habit of having hot, steamy showers, that’s your prerogative, but make sure the extractor fan is always switched on while you are doing so. Got a tumble dryer? Check the vent pipe is pushing the damp air outside and the vents are not blocked.

Even after checking all these things, you might still find you are getting a certain degree of condensation. A foolproof solution is to install some inexpensive heating in the loft to keep the temperature even. The tubular heaters we mentioned earlier are ideal for this, as they are energy efficient and simple to install in out of the way places.

One other possibility

If you have water tanks in your loft, there is an outside chance that they might be the culprits. These tanks feed the system by gravity and should contain cold water, but there are rare occasions where a plumbing fault causes them to warm up and create steam and condensation. It is not a common problem, but it is worth checking, just to be sure.

How to Get Your Children to Love Reading

Everyone knows the importance of reading, but encouraging our children to read can be a difficult task. As a parent, it is imperative that  you help your children enjoy reading and indulge their love of literature. While you will have to focus a lot of time and energy into doing so, it will be very rewarding in the long term.

Kids often see reading as something that they have to do in school, and as such, it feels very much like a chore when they get home. The key is to ensure that children see reading as a leisure activity, not as a chore that is forced upon them. As they are often forced to read at school, reading for pleasure can seem like an unknown entity and as such they lose their passion for reading. As a parent, it is your job to ensure that they find a balance between reading for pleasure and reading for work.

3567920928_8e183c51e9_o

Flickr

One of the most effective ways, as a parent, that you can encourage your child to love literature is to read aloud to them. The easiest time to implement reading into their routine is to do so at bedtime. Once you have settled them into bed, take out a book and read aloud to them. Get your child to engage with the text and the illustrations. What is more, you will need to project your voice in an enjoyable way. This may mean putting on silly voices and adopting the guise of the various characters within the book. While you may feel a little silly at first, your kids will love it.

There is a fantastic range of children’s books available online, and on the high street, so much so that you will be spoilt for choice. Try to purchase books that are aimed at your child’s age range. What is more, the books that you purchase should be a reflection of their own personal tastes and likes. If your little boy is fascinated by dinosaurs, then purchase storybooks that tell the tales of dinosaurs. They are sure to be engaged with the story if the book is suited to their personal tastes.

It may be advisable to seek out the services of your local library. Some libraries hold mother and toddler groups, where your child can interact with other children of a similar age. What is more, once they have engaged with peers of their own age, they will be more interested in listening to the stories unfold. Getting your kids interested in reading need not be an arduous task, it should be an enjoyable leisure activity that they can actively engage with.

One of the most important things that you can do as a parent is “practice what you preach.” This means that if you are encouraging your children to read, then you should be reading too. Children often want to emulate their parents, so if they see you reading for pleasure, then they will be interested in doing so too. After all, they want to be seen as ‘grown ups,’ not children.

How to instil your child with a love of reading

reading

Image by arrathoonlaa@att.net 

A love of reading is one of the most precious gifts that you can give to your child. As they grow up, if they’ve always had lots of stories read to them, and then begin to enjoy reading by themselves, a love of reading will open up worlds of entertainment and information throughout the rest of their lives.

So how do you get kids to love books? Well, of course, it’s as simple as sitting down to read with them regularly but every individual is different. Some people are natural bookworms from the very beginning, others might only ever read books when they have to and never pick up a book out of choice once they’ve left school.

But there are ways you can encourage that love of reading – and by doing so, you’ll be doing your child a good service.

The earlier you can introduce your baby to books, the better. Of course, when they are very young, they’ll be more interested in sucking and chewing the books rather than the stories they contain! That’s why board books are built to be so indestructible after all. But just the act of sitting down and reading with your baby a few times a day will provide them with a sense of calm and relaxation. The cosy position most people take up to read will also fill them with reassurance, even though it may only be on a subliminal level. Babies take in a lot of information before they can speak, and the more you can stimulate them with books and pictures and reading stories, the quicker their language skills will develop.

There is a great article about how to get children to love books which is featured on the www.gltc.co.uk/blog/. It has some great tips and ideas on ways to get kids to appreciate books and reading. For instance, if you get a bookshelf or a set of shelves for your child’s room that they can easily access themselves, they’ll naturally go to get a book when they want one. Books shouldn’t be kept high up and out of reach – unless, of course, you have a child who loves the sound of ripping paper! But even if that’s the case, you can adapt what you put on your child’s bookcase according to their temperament and age. Start with the plastic coated board books that survive pretty much anything, and as your child understands that books are not toys and are objects to be treasured, you can gradually introduce some paperback picture books and see how they get on with treating them gently.

One key aspect of encouraging a love of reading is to make sure that children get to hear a wide range of stories. You might start with the books you remember loving as a child, or the ones with the most enticing of illustrations. Don’t forget the classic children’s tales like Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows as well as the modern classics like The Gruffalo and ‘The story of the little mole who knew it was none of his business.’ And if you’ve not yet read the mole story, be prepared to talk about quite a yucky subject!

You may have a natural bookworm for a child, but if you don’t, don’t despair. They’ll appreciate the value of books one day – and if you keep reading them stories, that day may come sooner than you think!