Reading My Son’s Bedtime Stories Has Become A Turning Point | Parents and parenthood

RReading was a big part of my childhood, and I often left my eyes closed staying awake all night with my nose in a dusty old paperback book. This is one of the reasons I find it so hard to credit the moral panic about the antisociability of screens. I spent my childhood ignoring everyone around me while reading – and being praised for it. There was little fury about my social skills or the deleterious effects of reading on my cognition. I think the effects of burying your nose in a backlit screen are more similar to my own bibliophile than the technophobes assume.

However, I have a sentimental attachment to print and I rejoice in the joy that my son takes in his books, which is to say a lot. He follows us around the house shouting, with great subtlety and refinement “READ A BOOK!” before putting the text he has chosen in our hands and sinking down next to us. His tastes are informed by subject (yes to anything that has vehicles, dinosaurs or sensitive foods, no to anything that involves robots), but also by meter, because he likes the beat and the beat of a book. like The Gruffalo as much as its history. Maybe that’s why we sometimes find him with one of our paperbacks, perched upside down in his lap, pretending to read it on his own in the sung tones he memorized in the book. one of his own less mature tomes.

Reading to a small child is always one of the main benefits of parenthood. The first times, that is. I have nothing but admiration for Julia Donaldson, but I doubt a book was made to withstand 15 recitations in a row, without each syllable collapsing into a heinous and agonizing chore. Some books have become such victims of their own success, they’ve been banned from our house altogether, because the perennial “still, more” feedback loop they induce means opening them is like setting a 15 minute timer. for a gigantic tantrum once you tell them you just can’t do it anymore.

While some books are stimulants, others are sedatives. He has a stack in his bedroom organized for their sleeping qualities. When night comes I hit those old sleepy standards like Good night bear, Where sleeping baby, both of which are pretty much printed chloroform.

Last week, however, a sabotage hit our little sleep library and my outstretched hand fell on other more exciting items. Books in which sentient broccoli grow up to race car drivers and dinosaurs learn about volcanoes, the kind of randomly exciting children’s books that make you wonder how Spot The Dog ever honestly made a living. He’d pored over our sleep plan and, like a juggling inmate juggling his meds in an asylum, stealthily unearthed other more exciting books from the pile. My son laughed at his deception, knowing that I would have to recite the book I would pull from the pile, which I did immediately, keeping him happy, delighted and awake for another half hour. He may not be fully literate yet, but he can read me like in a book.

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