I’m pretty sure I believe in the value of reading to children. Inspire their imagination, stretch their attention span, expand their vocabulary, teach them etiquette, blah, blah, blah. For many months now, we’ve read 2 books just before bedtime- 1 chosen by Isla and 1 chosen by Asher. I’ve (sometimes not so) patiently led them through the (painful and) important practices of listening and not interrupting, sitting down, treating the books with respect, etc. Seriously, though, it’s so not fun. Add to it Asher’s irritating habit of choosing the same book 800 times in a row, Isla’s understandable impatience with listening to the same book 800 times in a row, our shared fatigue at reaching the end of the day which then takes the tasks associated with reading from challenging to nearly impossible. You can see where this is going. I decided to quit bedtime reading. Nobody disagreed with me on that decision.
Instead, we now read during the day. Duh. Honestly, how did it take me a thousand years to figure out that reading to children doesn’t have to occur at bedtime??? Anyway, our reading experiences have changed dramatically, for the better. Today, story time took on a life of it’s own, and I’m always thrilled when play evolves in such new and creative ways. During our third story, Asher started building a book tower. It began with him choosing which book he wanted to hear next, and it just, literally, grew from there. When the third story finished, Isla began helping with the tower. I stopped reading and slipped away to make lunch while the tower building continued.
After lunch, I turned on some music for Isla and took Asher for his nap. When I returned, Isla had started building a “book fort.” I did some chores- dishes, laundry- and she tinkered for another 20-30 minutes, making rooms for herself and Asher, adding toys to the rooms, pillows and blankets for resting. When Asher woke up from his nap, they played in there together and ate their snack in there, too. Needless to say, nobody seems to miss our bedtime stories!