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Bed time stories and reading

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  • Bed time stories and reading

    This is a question I have had for a while but I've been nervous to ask. I apologize now if I have this in the wrong folder.

    My son is a typical 21 month old toddler and rarely ever stays still with boundless energy. We AP quite a bit with DH being a stay at home dad and me working outside the home. Well bed time is mommy time and we have been reading short or about 3 minute little stories to start the winding down process. Normally during these times he is up on the bed with me or grabbing other toys and checking to see what new is on the page. The way I see it is that I understand that he isn't ready to sit down and listen to the entire story and I am trying to be flexible but at what point should I try and get him to sit and listen or look at pictures. He has his favorite books and will bring those to us to read and will sit still for that, but that's about it. After our nightly stories we put on bedtime music and turn the lights down and after 2 or 3 songs he settles and goes to bed without a fuss.

    I know this is random but I am reading Dr. Sears Successful Child and I just got to the point where he talks about reading. I love doing bed time stories but I was getting worried that maybe not making him sit still for stories was a bad thing.

  • #2
    please don't be afraid to ask questions. your question may prove helpful to many out there who are having the same issue. we are all learning as we go and are here to support each other in the process.

    i think this is one of those situations that, while it's a great idea for many families, it may not work for yours. i'm a teacher and voracious advocate of reading w/children, but enforcing it in a way that may cause them not to enjoy it would undermine the purpose. read to him whenever he brings you a book in the day, make other times to read, he may be ready to have bedtime stories as he grows. many children get a last burst of wind right before settling and this may be what he needs. don't make story time tedious for everyone involved. find a routine that works for you.

    thanks for asking! maybe others will have different ideas to share.


    • #3
      There's nothing like a cuddle while reading a nice book. DD3 enjoys reading, in her own way, which includes jumping on me while I attempt to read a story to her. During the times she will sit and cuddle (boy do I LOVE those moments), she likes to be the one to turn the pages. The story is always different, even if the book is the same, when she is the one turning the pages. We skip pages, start at the end of the book, and everything in between.

      Prior to her being interested in books, I would sit on the floor and become a "reading jungle gym." I feel strongly about reading and hope to instill a love of reading in my girls. Even if your son is playing while you read to him, he is still seeing you read a book. Is there another time of day when you or Dad can read to him? Maybe while he's playing on the floor with his favorite toy. There will be a time when he will listen more attentively.


      • #4
        Well, if he already has favourite books, what you're doing must be working! I suspect that pressuring him to sit still and listen will probably backfire.

        Someone named Daniel Pennac wrote a list called "Rights of a Reader" which I really like and the list includes the right not to read. Here is the list if anyone is interested. Hope the link works:

        We've often found what we were "supposed" to do for a bedtime routine didn't work for us. Nighttime baths are supposed to be calming but they seemed to have the opposite effect on DS. I've also concluded that you can't MAKE someone be calm or sleep. And it's not through lack of trying that I've concluded this.


        • #5
          Thanks everyone. I a story from a large book 3 minute Seseme Street stories. He's interested and does sometimes come and turn the page or see what hus favorite character (Elmo) is doing.

          LisaS I do get like you and become a reading jungle gym at times. I'll sit on the floor while he sits on the twin bed above me and plays with my hair or head or something. And to answer your question my DH does read to him a few times throughout the day. Many times DS will bring him his favorite (and chewed on) Finding Nemo books to read or just show him how he "reads" certain words. We've been reading those books since he was about 9 or 10 months old.

          I'm trying to make sure we get to the library about every other week to get a few new short books that he is interested. Oh and thank goodness for a SSC in the library!

          Thanks for the advice ladies. I've just now started reading the Dr. Sears books and wished i had read them when I was pregnant! They just make so much sense to me. While we don't co-sleep simply because DS has always wanted his "own" place to sleep, he can be a very high needs child and Dr. Sears has shown me so many strategies to help him!

          Thanks again ladies!


          • #6
            as your child grows, i highly recommend "Unconditional Parenting" by Kohn and "Connection Parenting" by Leo. both will help you transition from the needs of a baby into the needs of a toddler and child.