Although this is not a parenting blog, we do share topics of interest from time to time. From our analytics we can see that a sizable proportion of our loyal readers are women in the twenties and thirties, and have therefore made an educated guess that some are around the phase of motherhood. This post is for them.
If you have young children, it is probably your wish that they will enjoy reading, particularly if you do as well. If your child is showing little interest in reading, there is hope, even though, of course, nothing is a given. Sometimes mums and dads have to get sneaky, but you can still turn your child into a reader, even if he or she is reluctant about it.
One: Early Bedtime Story
Here’s how our bedtime routine goes. The kids brush teeth and use the bathroom. Then I read them their stories. This is all done before their official bedtime. Then, I simply give them an option. For example, you can ask them “It’s time for bed, now. Would you like lights out or would you like to stay up and read for a bit?”
Unless they are really tired, they’ll always choose to read awhile. You will not have to beg nor manipulate them into reading. In fact, they think it’s their idea, and over time, would have grown to love their chance for a ‘late’ bedtime. After that, and this might sound a bit unorthodox, but you have to back off.
That means that you present them with a collection of books, but don’t try to instruct them in any way, nor help them choose books. This is their time. They can choose whichever book they like and look at it however they like until I come in to kiss them goodnight and turn their lights out. Of course, if they want you to stay and listen to them read, you should be more than happy to comply. Try it. It works.
Two: Summer Reading Programs
This one is a bit of an American thing, but does not have to be exclusively. American libraries have summer reading program because of their school calendar. If your local library does not have a summer reading program, then create one at home, with rewards for reading books. You can use a Monopoly (or Life) board and allow your child to move one space for each book they read. Or if you want to have more fun, let them roll the dice each time they reads a book and have prizes available for passing certain points.
Make sure the rewards are something very desirable. If your child values time with you more than toys, then set a date together doing their favourite thing. If they value a certain toy, let them earn it from reading books. Another one which may be controversial is to have a “pass” from a certain chore. But it is worth a try.
Three: Books Before Movies
You would have noticed that these days a lot of books are turned into movies, although the movies don’t tend to be accurate. So, in such cases, have it as a standard at home. Don’t go see any movie until the book is read. Whether you read the book to the kids or they read it alone, each member of the family can go see the movie after the book is read. So, if your child is looking forward to seeing the next Chronicles of Narnia movie, the next Harry Potter movie or the next Lemony Snicket movie, they’ll have to read the book first.
So, here we are. If you really enjoy reading and want to cultivate this habit in your kids, go ahead and try the tricks above. Hope it works.
Parenting-related anxiety and depression:
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, which means that we get a small commission if you choose to get the product. However, rest assured that we will NEVER recommend anything that doesn't have a good reputation in the industry :)