Before my son was born, I used to read a few hours a day. Some days, I read for four hours, some days just for two. I read every night before I went to bed. If I didn’t have a book, I read a shampoo bottle. If there was nothing available with words in a language I understood (Dutch, English and some French and German), I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I went to great lengths to make sure I was never in this situation, packing three or four books for a weekend trip, two books for the night, and one book whenever I left the house, in case I was caught in traffic or a doctor’s office. I loved reading and I still do!
I have been reading stories to my son for as long as I can remember being his parent. In a few weeks he’ll turn 6-and-a-half, and I have no plans to stop reading to him. (Even though he now read his own books as well!) We have evolved from reading silly and repetitive board books to reading imaginative and thoughtful chapter books. The nightly bedtime reading is one of my favourite parts of our entire day.
Can you imagine a 10-year-old being read a bedtime story? What about a 13-year-old? Or a 16-year-old? At some point the reading stops.
But I don’t ever want it to stop.
I recently read somewhere that most parents stopped reading to their children before age 9. The reason the parents stopped was because the children were able to read on their own. Children aged 6 to 8 were then asked if they were ready for their parents to stop reading to them. Thirty-seven percent of the children said no.
I know I am quite sentimental, but reading that statistic broke my heart.
My son and I both have chaotic schedules and some days feel LOUD and overwhelming. When it’s time to read, everything slows down. There is stillness and peace. My son climbs in bed, I tuck him in, and then I stretch out next to him and begin.
I always do a “Remember what happened yesterday?” prologue before I start actually reading new pages. We review what events happened to our leading character. Then I give my son one more chance to get a sip of water or dance any extra sillies out.
I usually get through a page or two before he interrupts me with a question. He will want to know what a word means or why would a character behave a certain way. A few pages later and I can tell my son has drifted off to sleep.
The end of the day can be one of the most stressful parts and maybe bedtime routines have been cut short to save time or sanity. If you have eased up on reading bedtime stories, consider asking your children how they feel about it. It is possible they miss it and miss that time with you.
How old are your children? And do you still read to them?
Pernille is 13 years old and I wonder if her mother still reads to her or if she only reads by herself… No chapter book for her this afternoon but she’s reading the book ‘La Parisienne’ written by Ines de la Fressange. A book we totally recommend!
Pernille is wearing a dress by Boboli.
Pernille is wearing a beautiful dress by Boboli.
And of course Milk decoration hors serie 1. Another one we recommend!
All photo’s taken by Evelyne Photography for Les enfants a Paris.