5 Ways To Read To Your Kids (So They’ll Actually Listen)

Bedtime stories at my house are a zoo. The pre-schooler tries to delay bedtime by asking a bazillion repetitive questions. The toddler does not want to sit still and read. The baby is ready to nurse. My wife has a bad case of end-of-the-day frazzles. Inwardly, I’m bemoaning the fact that our kids have yet to fall in love with books (because, they’re supposed to be reading before age 2, right?). We’re all a bit cranky.

So you know what we’re doing?

We’re giving up.

That’s right. Bedtime stories, that beloved childhood staple, are going to disappear from our home.

Instead, we’re replacing them with the following story-times that totally work for us:

1) Breakfast Stories. The kids are captive and are too busy eating to interrupt unnecessarily.

2) Bath-Time Stories. The older two love playing in the tub, will listen quietly so as to prolong the fun.

3) Wake-Up Stories. It takes the kids a while for their hyperness to kick in, so we can squeeze in a story while they’re still rubbing the sleeps out of their eyes. Plus, they’re extra snuggly when they wake up 🙂

4) Grandparents’ House Stories. Me-Ma and Grandad could sort socks with the them and the kids would be thrilled. No chance they’ll turn down a chance to read a book with them.

5) In-The-Car Stories. While we don’t spend a lot of time in the car, the kids love to listen to audiobooks anyway, so this is a no-brainer.

We probably won’t get rid of bedtime stories altogether. Some nights it works out really well. But at the least we’ll stop making it the most important reading time of the day, knowing that there’s plenty of other times and ways to read to the kiddos.

How about you: when do you find reading to your kids works best?

Tyler Hogan is the head of curriculum development at Bright Ideas Press. He lives in Dover, Delaware, with his wife, Helen, and their adorable daughters, Kaylee, Avalon, and Sierra. He and Helen are both homeschool graduates and now homeschooling parents. Tyler has spoken, performed, and taught classes around the world on homeschooling, geography, the arts, and worldview . He also works as the operations manager for Grace for Dover, a nonprofit Christian community development organization. In his “spare time,” he teaches homeschool co-op classes, reads good books, drinks tea, overanalyzes movies, and writes about himself in the third person. He has a BA in theatre from Belhaven University and always enjoys the adventure of lifelong learning.

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  • I still read aloud to my children, and they are now 15 and 12. I love doing the voices, reading engaging stories, etc. I still read in the evenings, some time after dinner. It keeps them off of their electronic devices! I admit to NOT reading every night, but it’s a practice I want to resume now that summer is winding down for us.