I thought it might be best to just clear the air and look at all the reasons why it’s been so hard for me to read to my kids. We’ve dealt with a lot of frustrating nights, and I’ve decided it might be best to look at our obstacles so that we can resolve ‘em. So here they are.
1. We’re not exactly book worms. Several of my children don’t enjoy reading, some don’t know how to read, and a few of us don’t have time to read. I hear mothers talk about how they can’t keep their kids supplied with enough books to read. We are not one of those families.
2. We have a big age gap. My first three boys are ages 15, 13, and 11. Ricky and Deborah are six and four. This makes it tricky to find a book that everyone will like which is why I’m reading A Wrinkle in Time to my older boys and Heidi to my younger children. But that’s tricky too. It seems to take just as much time to gather the kids as it does to read to them. I used to think that my children didn’t come when I called them because they couldn’t hear me, but now that we live in a smaller house, I discovered that they are just disobedient. It’s hard to start reading to them when I’m already cross (although my witch voices sound much better), and it’s not just time I need, but that pro activity, that energy to get myself off the couch and up and down the stairs to hunt down the twerps (who are adorable by the way). It’s time to invest in a megaphone. Or maybe a bow staff.
3. We are not really good at bedtime routines. Since we read before bed, routine is kind of important. We are just starting to get good at brushing our teeth. We’re working up to flossing. I joke about it, but seriously, it’s hard. We have church obligations, scouts, homework, school events, and cross country meets. Our captain has a demanding job that gets him home between 6:30 and 7:00, and that puts our dinners late.
4. Once we start reading, we have a hard time stopping. I feel bad because my children want me to read longer, and I’m not as firm as I should be. My kids need more sleep, and so I need to be a better time manager.
5. We have a rocky relationship with our local library. They are so strict about getting things back on time! And then we discovered that library books are possessed with wandering spirits. They hide under out couch and in our Lego boxes and sometimes underneath Davy’s pile of dirty clothes. Sanitizer, anyone? Seriously, these book disappearances are getting spooky. And I don’t exactly have time to look for them. Also, it turns out, you only save money borrowing from your local library if you don’t get a lot of fines, and if you don’t have to hire a posse to track your books down.
“OK you guys, I will pay $2 to anybody who can find Puss in Boots.”
“How about $5?”
Anyone ready to put on a badge for a good cause?
It feels good to acknowledge these challenges because it helps me be realistic about what we really can do. Yes, I would love to read to my kids for two hours a night. But we may need to give ourselves a pat on the back if we can just manage reading three nights a week, and if we only read for ten minutes.
I think I’ll also look at ways to simply our lives a bit. Some of my blog posts will be about trying to streamline things a bit.
Any of you guys have any ideas? What makes reading hard for you?