While the benefits of reading to children are well documented, some parents dread reading time.
Usually it’s at the end of a long day and children know just how to drag it out until you’re crying at the thought of reading one more Disney Princess book. Or answering question #102 about “But why did the bunny do that?” If you do dread reading to your kids it’s 100% worth persevering and finding solutions to the issues that arise. So what can you do to turn this bedtime ritual into a happy time?
Kids fighting over which bedroom you’ll read in? Rotate it every night. Or read in your bed.
Kids fighting over who gets to sit on your lap? No-one. Everyone finds a comfy spot and you read to them. Or the child whose room it is, gets to sit on your lap. That way everyone will have a turn.
Not enjoying the books they want to read? Let them choose one and you choose one (and buy them books you want them to read!).
They interrupt you and ask questions? Um, there’s no getting around this one. But you could try getting them to ask questions at the end. Good luck!
It’s boring? Find them a book you want to read. Try one of your old classics and read it to them. Make it interesting by sometimes selecting non-fiction books. Creepy animal books or the fact-filled How Come? series always work in our house.
You’re tired? I sympathise. Try getting them into bed twenty minutes earlier and then you can still get them to sleep and have some me-time after. And if bedtime reading is not working for you, find other times in the day or try early morning.
It’s never enough? Kids adore story time. And it’s not just because of the book. They get to have your undivided attention, your cuddles and your love. So look at this as more than just reading time. It’s connecting time and while you can set a limit on how many books you will read, just know that this is time they will always remember. And so will you.
Need new book suggestions? Old favourites are good. But you need to mix it up. Visit your library and get a wide range of books – especially ones they might never have tried before. Buy a compendium of stories they can read from every night. If you need help finding great new books let us know and our Bespoke Book Service will buy them for you, tailored to your child’s interests.
*Top Tip: If your child is old enough, try paired reading and share the book reading experience.
*Share the load. Recruit other family members – grandparents, aunts and uncles and older siblings to read to your kids too.