to stop reading to my daughter every night?

(135 Posts)
stoopstofolly Fri 13-Sep-13 10:08:05

My DD is 8 years old (yr 3). She has had a bedtime story every night since she was about 6 months old. It has been lovely- a really nice experience for both of us.
At present I give my DS (3) a bath, do his story, then DD has a bath and her story. However, she now wants to start going to bed a bit later (currently she's in bed by about 7.30, story until 7.45, can read on her own until 8.15).
Now, my DH and I both work full time. He commutes, and only gets back about 8.00 ish, which leaves me doing 2 DC's dinner, bath and bed every evening, on my own. At present, after DD's story I start cooking our dinner, and we eat about 8.30. I then manage about an hour of TV/reading before collapsing in a heap and going to bed.
I understand that DD would like to stay up later, and she's only asking for another 15-30 mins BUT if she does this, am I unreasonable to say that she can't have me reading a story to her as well? She's a very good independent reader, and I've said that myself/DH will still read to her at weekends, just not in the week.
Apparently this makes me the worst mother in the world, and is proof that I like DS more "because HE'S still getting a story".
I was holding firm, but then a read an article in the paper about how children benefit for being read to even as they get older, and I'm feeling guilty. What age did you all stop reading to your DC?

jazzandh Fri 13-Sep-13 10:36:42

....actually at 3 DS2 now jumps in the shower with his big brother as well (his choice) - so they are both "bathed" before tea......

kitsilano Fri 13-Sep-13 10:37:30

Oh dear this is making me feel really guilty! Somehow reading with my 2 (8 and nearly 6) has slipped off the agenda what with after school activities, homework and cooking dinner I'm in a rush to get them into bed.

I've been comforting myself that they both read to themselves in bed for a while but I guess I need to get back onto it.

Unfortunately I just dont really enjoy it that much so find excuses...

MaddAddam Fri 13-Sep-13 10:39:04

I've never read to mine every night, even when they were tiny. Evenings tend to be quite busy and I get quite tired by their bedtime. I've always encouraged them to read to themselves instead, they're all very keen readers now (aged 9,11,13), and I don't really think it's that essential. If I'm reading, DP is reading, they're reading, we talk about books and reading a lot, we go to the library, we buy lots of books, but the activity of reading to them was always something I found a bit mind-numbing. Like going to toddler swimming sessions, there are some parenting activities that are a bit of an acquired taste that some of us don't acquire.

sashh Fri 13-Sep-13 10:40:16

If she wants to stay up until dad is home could he read with her? Or have her read to him? Then it is something special for a grown up child not for babies.

Or if not reading then telling daddy about her day?

I can understand dd not wanting something special taking away, and I can understand you are exhausted, that's why I'm saying substitute something else.

DorisShutt Fri 13-Sep-13 10:40:32

Can you not shift your reading times? So she still gets a book but it's before bedtime IYSWIM?

Then, as someone else suggested, she gets to stay up later, but it's in bed with a book herself - which her little brother doesn't get!

culturemulcher Fri 13-Sep-13 10:41:19

I don't think you're being unreasonable, I completely understand where you're coming from... but does it have to be such an absolute?

We've found - like you - that as our DCs have got older that their bedtimes have stretched to the point where DH and I are often only starting to make our evening meal at 8.30 - so eating at 9 or 9.30 - which is too late.

To get round this we've started to take a more flexible approach with bed time stories. Some nights DD(8) will read her own book after bath time until lights out at about 7.45. Other evenings we'll read a chapter or two of a bedtime story to her, but then she may only get 5mins of her own reading or even gasp none. She does read at other times of the day, though. It's her choice - and she gets to decide if she'd like us to read another chapter or stop so that she has a few mins to read her own book.

I don't want to give up reading to her - especially as there's so many fantastic stories that she's the perfect age to hear, but that she might find a bit too daunting to read by herself at this age - like The Hobbit.

Sorry for the long post. I guess what I'm really saying is can you be a bit flexible across the week?

sydlexic Fri 13-Sep-13 10:42:09

I had two DD's and read to them both each night, in their separate rooms. They would time me to make sure they both had the same number of minutes. Books got longer and longer.

I had DS when the girls were teenagers and decided never to read to him in bed, I read to him at other times of the day, it wasn't a problem.

You don't have to read at bedtime.

mrslyman Fri 13-Sep-13 10:44:54

As important as the bedtime story is, I do think you're right to not want this creeping into your adult evening time. I personally would stand firm either she gets to go to bed later or she gets a story. Whilst I agree that reading to children is important I don't agree that it trumps all other needs in the household.

mrsjay Fri 13-Sep-13 10:48:12

your dd likes the 15 minutes just you and her it could be watching tv rather than reading she just likes that special mum time I would keep at it till she doesn't want it anymore I haven't heard of many teenagers who still get a bedtime story grin

mrsjay Fri 13-Sep-13 10:49:36

would stand firm either she gets to go to bed later or she gets a story. Whilst I agree that reading to children is important I don't agree that it trumps all other needs in the household.

oh I agree with this though I would still keep her to her bedtime reading and let her have a bit longer to read by herself and she can go to sleep later

Bumbez Fri 13-Sep-13 10:52:44

I don't think you are being unreasonable either. My dds are 8 and 10 and the 10 year old has been reading independently for at least 3 years. I always read to the 8 year old but she wants to read by herself like her big sister now. Once bed time moved from 7 to 8 for them both I offered them the choice if they wanted a bedtime story from me they needed to be in bed earlier so that lights out are at 8, strangely they preferred to stay up !

Like you I want some alone time with Dh and to watch mummy telly smile

ExcuseTypos Fri 13-Sep-13 10:54:26

My 2dd had a 3 years age gap, and I had ot do all be times by myself.

You really don't need to be doing 2 separate baths and stories. No wonder you're struggling.

I used to give them both a bath and then both a story together, then Dd2 would go to sleep and Dd1 would come into the sitting room with me for half an hour of 1-1 time with me. It worked very very well. smile

mumofweeboys Fri 13-Sep-13 10:55:27

Hi. Keep doing her story at earlier time then let her play or read quietly to herself in her room until the later bedtime

ImpulsePineapple Fri 13-Sep-13 10:57:58

my 9yo has been reading independently for ages, and we got out of the habit of a story. Lately she has been suffering with anxiety (long story), and I have been helping her to sleep, a story is perfect, I can't believe we ever stopped. They are not little for long, try and enjoy it, I wish my 11yo would come and join us, but she is too busy on YouTube blush

(and I'm a single mum, so I know how desperate you are for a tiny bit of peace and quiet by 8pm wink )

stoopstofolly Fri 13-Sep-13 11:00:47

Some interesting ideas here. With 2 FT jobs, 2 children and no close family routine has been my saviour . I think the children have benefited from the security . However, letting go of the bath-story-bed-bath-story-bed routine for DD might be the way forward. She could have a bath earlier, or wait for DH, or have a story earlier. I just need to let go of the timetable a bit....gulps
I have enjoyed the bedtime stories until now- I think some of this might have been triggered by the fact that we've just finished 4 long months reading the whole set of Narnia books WHICH ARE NOT AS GOOD AS I REMEMBERED. Spent the whole time editing sexist content, explaining what a bivouak was, or discussing the fact that just because Susan put on lipstick in the final book, it didn't mean that she was unworthy to enter heaven......
Better books might help!

absentmindeddooooodles Fri 13-Sep-13 11:01:36

Yabu......ask dh to cook or just eat half hour later. I know you must be knackered etc...but I only have a 2.6 yo, and by tje time bestime routine is done I rarely gwt to eat before 930. You dont have to read masses, njist a quick story. Tjat was one of my favorite memories growing up. Wouldbbe such a shame for her to miss out on that!

DeWe Fri 13-Sep-13 11:01:54

I can see her point. But if her entire point is you still are reading to the 3yo, then I don't think that's valid as a 3yo and 8yo are different in lots of ways. At 3yo she would have been having a story-and mummy's attention full on as she'd no sibling to need help with homework etc.

Sometimes my dc (12, 9 and 6) say "it's not fair because younger one gets/does X". I usually point out they got it at his age. And point out the privileges they get with being older.

For mine dd1 stopped being read to at year 1, dd2 stopped in year R. Both asked to because they preferred to read to themselves. And a chapter a night of a 20 chapter book is very slow. I'd started finding I had read two chapters and they'd finished it because they wanted to know what happened. I occasionally curl up in my bed with them and read a chapter or two, but they're usually wresting the book off me to finish it themselves by they end.
Ds is 6yo and I still read to him. He can read it himself, but he prefers to be read to. that's fine too. I'll continue doing so as long as he wants.

And I would say that her bedime timings are very similar to my nearly 10yo, so aren't unreasonable. What if you suggested she got into bed at the same time, but then could read until 8:30? Would that suit both of you? Or maybe you could have Saturday morning as your time together and go and do something together?

Dancergirl Fri 13-Sep-13 11:03:57

I think you should definitely keep reading to her if that's what she wants.

But why on earth are you cooking twice?? Cook ONE meal, eat it with your dc and your dh can heat his up later. No wonder you're fed up having to cook again past 8pm. And instead of being tired/hungry/grumpy, once you've eaten it gives you more of an evening.

Reading to older children IS lovely. When dd2 was about 9 we read Before Green Gables (which IMO is better than Anne of Green Gables!) together and I enjoyed it as much as her. We cuddled up in her bed each night and she really enjoyed that time with me. She's 10.5 now and doesn't want me to read to her any more <sob>

I still read to dd3 (6) even though she's a good reader and reads far more books herself than I read to her. But I'm treasuring every moment of her being little and wanting to be read too.

Kleinzeit Fri 13-Sep-13 11:04:09

YABU about the reading but YANBU about how tricky it can be to adjust the schedule and keep adult time as the kids grow up! How about asking your DH to read to her while you finish getting supper ready? Nice bit of bonding time, esp if he doesn’t get much time with her in the week. Maybe she could get ready for bed at the usual time and play quietly in her pyjamas until he comes home?

mrsjay Fri 13-Sep-13 11:04:48

it is my belief children are part of a family and there comes a time when they need to fit in with family life (if that makes sense) maybe you could phase out the story gentle for her and spend time one to one another way .
DD2 had a CD player and she liked to listen at bedtime so somebody else was doing the stories for me grin

Kaekae Fri 13-Sep-13 11:06:56

My son is 6 so at times he likes to read a book by himself just before bed, or I read to him and DD age 4. Last night we all got into bed and DS read the book to us all. My DH doesn't get home from work until about 7.30-8.00 and helps with the bedtime if the children are still up. We take it in turns to do the story. I don't like to refuse a book because I want them to enjoy reading but if it is getting late, I ask them to choose a quick one and then allow my son to choose an extra one which he can read alone before sleep. I then cook our evening meal. Have you got time in the mornings to read, perhaps at breakfast time? My son will read his school books to me in the mornings over breakfast sometimes. Perhaps not the same, but you could try to make her feel like this is your reading time together.

curlew Fri 13-Sep-13 11:09:05

I would say that she can share a story with her brother. Find a book that's "up" a bit for him and "down" a bit for her. that's what I alwyasndid with mine (5 year gap)

It's a nice time for a cuddle- it doesn't have to be educational.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Fri 13-Sep-13 11:10:36

Dd is 8 and we are just finishing the Hobbit, taken 6 months.

Read to her as long as she wants it.

QueenArseClangers Fri 13-Sep-13 11:14:25

What Peacock says.
Bath them both together, get a slow cooker that you can bung some veg/meat/packet of sauce thing in before work and tat'll save loads of time.
We read to our two youngest together, they seem to both enjoy Enid Blighton books at the momen although they're aged 5 and 7 so a smaller age gap than yours. I presume the 3yo has shorter, quicker to read picture books so your DD could sit with you whilst you read that then DS could doze/listen whilst you read DD's chapter book?

Mumsyblouse Fri 13-Sep-13 11:15:15

I think the issue is that you are doing two dinners, two baths and two stories and no wonder this is exhausting after a day at work. I don't think children need a bath every day anyway, and I would certainly be only cooking and presenting one dinner, the idea of an adult dinner is lovely and romantic only if you are not on your knees with exhaustion (and hunger probably), so I would try to rejig your routine, so that two or three nights she can have a story (perhaps story or bath).

Also- using CD's, Mr Gum and Roald Dalh ones are great, they can read along with the books as an alternative on nights you are too tired.

I still read every night to the 7/8 year old but not to the 9 year old or at least only occasionally. They listen to the younger one's story together. I know it's ideal if each child has separate time by themselves, but there's a limit when working what you can do, and I'd aim to be flexible, cut down on the bathing and eat more simply before you keel over through tiredness!

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