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Who is dictating the bedtime reading?

Virtually every night we are at home, I stand with my son at his Tidy Books bookcase, and we set about choosing what books we are going to read.

Sometimes this is a very quick process, like on days when we have already discussed what to read at bedtime, or if we have played along a theme featured heavily in one of his books during the day.  Like if we’ve played with dinosaurs, popular bedtime stories then become things like Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs or Dinosaurs Love Underpants.

At other times, the process can seem to take a disproportionate amount of time, as my son refuses to choose, and also refuses any of my suggestions.

We commonly read two books each bedtime, adding more for good behaviour and if time allows.  I do reduce reading down to one if there is reason to limit his reading, like a late bedtime, or poor behaviour.  Luckily instances like that are relatively rare, as to this point, I have chosen to run to a reasonable rigid schedule and the boy generally knows where my lines of good behaviour are.

I have also been mindful, increasingly so, to let my child choose what we are going to read.  I really want him to enjoy reading, and I think a big part of that is being allowed complete freedom when it comes to choosing literature.

My focus on this was heightened recently, when I read a report, that pointed out that well meaning parents can actually have a negative effect on a child’s reading.

However, my boy, such is his giving nature, likes to allow me to ‘choose’ a book to read.

So, when we have two books, the principle is that he chooses one, and I choose the other.

Great idea, except my son reserves the right of veto.  Which means my choice is actually limited to going through the list of his books, until I land on one he wants to be read to, or have a go at himself.

This irritates me a little, and at times I have said to him; “Why do you even ask me to choose?” to which I get a beautiful and all knowing grin.

We both really know he is in control of choosing what he reads, and long may it continue.

But, who chooses the books in your house?  And do your kids do the same thing to you?

Gèraldine Grandidier

About Gèraldine Grandidier

Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile. She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids. Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

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2 thoughts on “Who is dictating the bedtime reading?

  1. This post is very interesting; I have to admit that lately I’ve had more of an input into Rebecca’s bedtime reads. Why? I wanted to share with her two books that have been patiently waiting on the shelf until we knew she’d “get” them. We read Roald Dahl’s The Twits in two sittings, while this week we’ve been laughing our heads off to the poems in Michael Rosen’s Quick, Let’s Get Out Of Here! Of course, we still revisit Rebecca’s favourite picture books, but it’s good to share stories and poems off the beaten track too.

    1. Avatar Ian Newbold says:

      I agree, it’s about the balance, and the subtle introduction of reads that we believe our kids will enjoy has to be a good thing.

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