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?

BoozyBear Fri 13-Sep-13 10:11:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Retropear Fri 13-Sep-13 10:13:50

Yabu,mine are 9,9 and 8 and still get a chapter a night.A 3 year old is no more deserving than an 8 year old.There are huge advantages to reading to older children.

BuskersCat Fri 13-Sep-13 10:13:58

I'll probably stop reading to dd when she is a confident free reader, so around 7 or 8 I'd say. she can't pull the 'you prefer the 3yo more because she's had an extra 5 years with you that he hasn't

gazzalw Fri 13-Sep-13 10:15:12

We're still reading to DD and she's the same age as your DD! As she's our youngest fully expect that bedtime stories aren't about to outrun their course anytime soon! It does cut short one's evening but that's off-set by having a lovely one-to-one session with one's DC - we love rereading all the classics from our own childhood and some modern ones too!

plummyjam Fri 13-Sep-13 10:15:13

I don't have children your age but growing up I was one of 5 children and didn't get read a bedtime story - my mum had no time with 3 older kids and a baby. She did read a lot to us when we were pre-school at home though. I think I was reading in bed myself from age 5 or 6, something I still do now.

If I were you I'd just leave her to read independently now. And not feel in the slightest bit guilty about it! smile

Would she read to the little one?

YoureBeingADick Fri 13-Sep-13 10:15:19

if she wants it I would keep doing it. she will stop wanting it eventually so don't worry about it going on forever- it wont and then one day you'll be sad because you're baby is to big for stories grin

my ds is 8 and just wants to read to himself now. every now and again he'll ask me to read some to him and I love it. ds2 is 4 and I read every night to him. again, I live those 10/15 minutes at the end of their day.

PeterParkerSays Fri 13-Sep-13 10:15:39

YABU - her listening to you means that she can hear books with more complicated vocabulary which she couldn't yet read for herself. She can have books that she reads whilst you're giving DS his bath, and books that you red to her.

Could your husband have a main meal at work and a snack in the evening when he gets home, to give you some time for this?

MadamNoo Fri 13-Sep-13 10:16:32

sorry to say this but I am still reading to my 10 year old every night after reading to my 5 and 8 yos separately. Often on my own, and I'm lucky if I get downstairs before 9. It does seems crazy and I have almost no evening left but I can't see how to get out of it because he would be outraged if I didn't read with him any more (obviously he reads to hmself too, a lot). But I eat with the kids at 6, dh works shifts so he is either not back til 9 and eats alone, or home to eat early with us.
can't you carry on reading to your dd at the same time, though, and just let her read longer on her own?

YoureBeingADick Fri 13-Sep-13 10:17:46

and also- if you do stop when she doesn't want to you run the risk of creating a negative association with reading for her which would be horrible IMO.

QueenofKelsingra Fri 13-Sep-13 10:18:20

yabu i'm afraid. it is so important for them, never mind that it will clearly seem like favouritism if you keep doing it for your youngest.

I know it is hard to do the dinner/bath/story/bed for multiple kids (I have 3 to do it for) but it is so so important. it is only another 15 mins or so.

I will not stop reading to mine until they tell me they don't want stories anymore.

when you say she wants to stay up later what about a compromise of not during the week but she can stay up later at weekends?

Edendance Fri 13-Sep-13 10:18:27

I think it's unreasonable for you to do this- bedtimes will change as children get older but she still deserves 1:1 time with you or your husband, even if you don't find it convenient.

To have that time with her every night will encourage good communication between you, and that's so vital.

Yabu, she's only 8! Poor girl just wants to feel important and have her own time with just you- it's hardly much to ask.

MotherofBear Fri 13-Sep-13 10:20:15

Can you compromise at all and read to her downstairs before her bath? She gets to stay up later and she gets her story.

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 13-Sep-13 10:22:42

Your older self will say YABU to stop before your dd asks to stop!

I would continue to read to her as always but let her stay up for a further 15 minutes afterwards. She could carry on reading, or you could change the routine a little so that she gets into PJs and cleans teeth after her story time.

castlesintheair Fri 13-Sep-13 10:23:06

I think you should keep reading to her. I still read to my 9 and 6 year olds and DS who is nearly 12 usually hangs around listening as well. I'm lucky if DH and I get to eat at 9.30pm after all the pfaffing about. It gets harder to have an "evening" as they get older.

PeacockPlumage Fri 13-Sep-13 10:24:27

I will only stop reading to dcs at bedtime when they beg me to!

Can't you save the extra time elsewhere? Bath every other night? Bath together? Read stories together with ds. Cooking seperate meals for dcs and adults is a big strain too, batch cook or slow cooker and have the same food in separate sittings.

The fact that dd is asking you to carry on and is upset at giving up would be enough for me to prioritise it.

yegodsandlittlefishes Fri 13-Sep-13 10:25:50

Or could your dh read to her when he gets home?

PolterGoose Fri 13-Sep-13 10:26:03

Ds is 10 and a very able reader but dp reads to him every night for half an hour. It means he can access books that he is too lazy to read for himself, or which have more grown up issues which they discuss. Ds gets read to between 7 and 7.30 then does writing his diary, drawing and reading and self regulates lights out, so we get our evenings and ds feels more grown up as he's in control.

How about your dd reads to your ds while you have a break and then you can read to dd? This way dd gets to practice reading out loud and she still gets read to.

ReallyTired Fri 13-Sep-13 10:26:03

I think that its mistake to stop reading to a child just because they can read. I still read to my son inspite of the fact that he is eleven. I read a bit of his book and then he reads to himself afterwards. I doesn't take that long to read four or five pages of a proper book.

Reading books to children improves reading comprehension as they can enjoy a more challenging book read by a parent than what they can read.

Another solution is to get her to read to her three year old brother in return for getting a story from mummy.

HavantGuard Fri 13-Sep-13 10:26:05

Why not ask your DH to cook.

imip Fri 13-Sep-13 10:27:33

When I had a just five year old, a three year old, a 1yo and a new born, reading in the evening went out the window for a good 18 months. I still read to dd1 in the mornings, and I hear her read for school twice a week (chapter books, they take FOREVER). I've just started reading dd1 and 2 a chapter a night again and they both really enjoy it). I really feel for dd2 as she is a late riser and I really struggled to read to her with timings. I hasn't affected her ability to read now that she is in yr1 and I expect that she will be an independent ish reader by year end as dd1 was (summer baby). I guess the reading doesn't have to come at night time, I think weekend would be fine, or mornings, or an audio book of her choice?

redskyatnight Fri 13-Sep-13 10:31:57

If the only problem is you don't want to stay up later then you don't have to! Just read to her earlier in the evening.

hardboiledpossum Fri 13-Sep-13 10:33:20

Yabu, i think its important to keep that time for the 2 if you

stoopstofolly Fri 13-Sep-13 10:34:24

Oh dear. It looks like I'm wrong then! I'm just so tired, and get no time at all with DH, which isn't doing our marriage any good. My mum is horrified by this, and says that by always putting the children first (ahead of self, husband, marriage etc) I'm not doing them any favours. She's threatening to buy me a book called "To raise happy kids put your marriage first"!
In all fairness, I'm home at 5.00 every night, do lots of activities with both children, plus have regular 1-1 time with both for example DD and I have a movie night together, just the two of us every Friday. She's not lacking in attention!
Not a lot DH can do- his job very pressurised and often he doesn't even manage lunch so needs a meal in the evenings. We need the money though! I've tried ready meals and ready - to - cook meals but I put on weight and didn't enjoy them.
Right then (girding loins). Back to story time......

jazzandh Fri 13-Sep-13 10:34:32

I think the bedtime story is still good at 8. My DS gets read to each night for 10/15 mins after DS2 (3) has gone to bed.

But DS1 has a shower (he sorts himself out generally) once he gets in from school, so I don't need to be involved there. Once we have had dinner, he helps tidy up downstairs and does homework etc while DS2 is put to bed. The he gets his story time and reading to himself for 15/20 minutes before he turns his lights out.

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!

dufflefluffle Fri 13-Sep-13 11:15:18

The story reading has to end sometime. My dd (now 11 but story reading ended at about 8 yrs) goes to bed at 8:30 - lights out at 9:30. I will go up and lie beside her and chat for a few minutes before turning the light out (unless she's reading a really good book in which case she does not want me bothering her!)

OhDearNigel Fri 13-Sep-13 11:16:44


Mumsyblouse Fri 13-Sep-13 11:16:59

And- I also get the older one to read to the younger one every now and again, doing the bedtime routine. I don't do it frequently so it's a real treat for the elder to play mummy and dress her sister for bed and read to her, it's very sweet though.

mrsjay Fri 13-Sep-13 11:17:50

I dont understand the 2 dinners either why are you making 2 meals and trying to sort the kids out on your own I know your husband is in late or whatever but I cant get my head around 2 dinners every day, confused

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Fri 13-Sep-13 11:18:07

We still do it. DD is 9.

Not every single night due to work etc but we try at least one chapter when we do.

I'm a big Harry Potter fan, so we are going through the series. DP has never read it so he comes in too.

DD sits in her bed, I'm propped up against the wall and DP lays on the floor with a pillow.

We then spend 10 mins talking about what just happened in the latest chapter and what they think will happen next.

DD loves it. So does DP grin

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 13-Sep-13 11:20:01

Why can't you read to her when you read to your younger child and then she can still go to bed a little later? She could just read to herself or sit with her dad until bedtime while you get on with what you need to.

It would be a shame if she missed out on her bedtime story.

WowOoo Fri 13-Sep-13 11:21:16

With my 8 yr old we alternate nights where I/Dh read, then next night he reads his own book.

On weekends he can choose if he wants us to read - he usually does and then he reads and can stay up a bit later.
Ds2 is usually read to before ds1.

We all eat the same thing. Far easier, but I know it doesn't work for everyone.

fromparistoberlin Fri 13-Sep-13 11:22:25

OP I feel you here

I work FT, and its VERY unfortunate that book reading time = mummy is really fucking tired time

I have let it slip, and in fact this has made me think even 2-3 times a week better than nothing

I dont think its reading per se, its the fact it coincides with the time of day you are MOST KNACKERED


OhDearNigel Fri 13-Sep-13 11:22:54

And as my Dd is only 3 i still read to her. My mum was still readingt to me when i was about 15, but we read aloud a lot and my dad will read articles in paper to my mum.

OhDearNigel Fri 13-Sep-13 11:24:16

Nb important to note that i am an only child, dm only worked 3 mornings a week and we had no TV !

BoozyBear Fri 13-Sep-13 11:25:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorfolkIngWay Fri 13-Sep-13 11:27:09

I would keep going for now as she enjoys it but change your evenin routine .
I dont get the 2 dinners thing at all - exhausting!
Agree with Mumsyblouse and Queen - a slow cooker is your friend.
Casseroles,curry,etc are lovely and take minimal prep .

My DD1 loved her stories but at about 9 she prefered to read to herself or listen to a story tape - she is 20 now and still listens to an audio book in bed grin
The idea of getting her to read to her younger sibling is a good one - mine adored this as well.

Crowler Fri 13-Sep-13 11:27:52

I really, really feel for you OP - you sound exhausted - but something else should give.

mrsjay Fri 13-Sep-13 11:30:00

he is 20 now and still listens to an audio book in bed

my 15yr old does too

KoalaFace Fri 13-Sep-13 11:30:14

I would offer her an alternative routine that fits in with the whole family. Reading together and time to talk together is important but you and DH need to have time too.

Take a look at your whole daily and weekly routine and look at it with fresh eyes. What can you do to make your routine work now that DD is getting older and you want to make your marriage a priority also.

No one likes a change in routine but eventually I think a change will do you all the world of good.

NewBlueShoesToo Fri 13-Sep-13 11:32:22

I understand completely, evenings here are similar.
Can you cook and eat with the children some nights then leave a plate for your husband? It does save loads of time and the double cooking and clearing up.
If you can keep the reading going for another year or so somehow you might begin to find books that both children will like.
My 11 and 9 year old now refuse to be read to and my one year old has stories in the day time but I must try to get it going again.

AbiRoad Fri 13-Sep-13 11:32:45

I still read to mine who are 10 (although not every night). Because they go to bed later, I now read to them (together) a bit earlier in the evening (not in bed) and then when they go to bed they just read themselves.

Fairyegg Fri 13-Sep-13 11:32:58

Surely she doesn't need a bath every night? I would rather skip that than a story. Can dh read her a book when he gets home so you can get on with dinner?

mrsjay Fri 13-Sep-13 11:33:28

OP i think you need to have a think you cant please them all and you cant do everything I know it has been your routine for a while but you are basically kknackered you do not want to become resentful and miserable, you need to look after you too , we do not need to be superwomen/mums it is ok to let somethings go or change things

BadPoet Fri 13-Sep-13 11:33:35

I agree that something else should give because YADefinitely NBU that you have too much on in the evenings at present. Bath every other night, one meal cooked and reheated for you and dh later or how about she gets her story at 8 when dh is in and whoever is not reading is cooking? Aiming for a few nights a week as well, audio books the rest.

Jaynebxl Fri 13-Sep-13 11:35:00

You could maybe read to her at the usual time then let her have half an hour more after that, playing in her room or watching tv. The story doesn't have to be the absolute last thing. I bet you can find a time to make it work still.

Kewcumber Fri 13-Sep-13 11:39:40

My (nearly) 8 year old has 30 minutes of stories before bed! Mind you this week he asked if we can lie in bed chatting for 15 mins and have 15 min stories now which I've agreed to. Somehow that time sitting together reading/chatting at the end of the day is different to other times.

Is it really the reading she wants or the company.

I don't see how a 15 minute story with one child is going to make a difference to your marriage (unmarried person here!)

campion Fri 13-Sep-13 11:41:54

Do whatever works best for you. Your meal arrangements could probably be simplified and DC need to know you're not superwoman.

If she kicks off about her brother having a story point out that she's had 8 years of stories to his 3.She gets plenty of attention-stop feeling guilty.

MortifiedAdams Fri 13-Sep-13 11:43:46

So let her read til 8.30....she gets the extra time at the end rather than the start, and your routine doesnt change.

PicardyThird Fri 13-Sep-13 11:45:09

I feel for you, but YABU. Bedtime reading is sacred in our house (dc are 8 and nearly 6). It's all the more important for us because the dc are bilingual and mine is the minority language, but I think even if we were monolingual I would really treasure and value that time.

Do both children have to have a bath every night? Can you make a family meal and dh reheats his when he comes in? Or why doesn't your dh read to her, or cook, when he comes in?

Kewcumber Fri 13-Sep-13 11:46:26

And whatever you decide I would nip the whining about 3 yr old in the bud - "if you want the same as a 3 year old you can have it but you get everything that comes with being 3 - stories, bedtime, rules, pocket money etc"

Don;t even give ear space to the cherry picking idea!

meddie Fri 13-Sep-13 11:48:35

One meal made at dinner time for the kids which can be reheated, both kids bathed together/same time. Story read between the both of them then eldest gets to stay up to see dad while dinner is being reheated.

RenterNomad Fri 13-Sep-13 11:50:34

I can see why your DD might want a separate bath, but don't cook two dinners. The kids will benefit from eating what the adults eat, and even sometimes eating with you. Also, if it's acceptable to tell a child "this house is not a cafe and you'll eat what you're given," surely this is even more applicable to an adult, who can get his own if need be (whereas children are more dependent)! Surely time together talking (even shagging!) can be just as good quality time as sitting hunched over a table, with conversation punctuated and broken up by mouthfuls as you're both so bloody hungry by then?

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 13-Sep-13 11:52:32

Surprised at responses to OP. Mine are still young so not an issue yet but wouldn't have occurred to me to still be reading bedtime stories to a child who could read. I am a keen reader. I don't remember being read to beyond the age of five or six. Apart from the bonding what is the reasoning behind it? Surely children can just read the harder books or classics when ready? Not trying to be obtuse, just curious.

OP I am usually very child centric but a small part of me agrees with your mum.

Chewbecca Fri 13-Sep-13 11:52:42

DS is 9 going on 10 and he doesn't want a story read by me anymore but he does want a chat, he goes upstairs and gets himself ready for bed, I pop to see him or about 15 mins chat then he reads to himself for quite a while, usually an hour or two!
I think it's important you keep the quiet, end of day time together, do it before DH gets home, it doesn't stop her from being allowed to have a later 'lights out' time, not does it need to stop you spending the time with DH.

TheYamiOfYawn Fri 13-Sep-13 11:54:36

Your routine sounds like a lit if work, and you would probably all be happier if you changed things to meet the needs of everyone in the family. Start with the things each person needs and work out how everyone can get as much of that as possible. So you want adult time with no housework after, say, 8:30pm. DD wants a bedtime story and a later bedtime. DH wants time to unwind after work and time with you.

Maybe cut out the baths? Mine get a bath twice a week? Or replace with showers at night/straight after school/in the morning. 2 dinners is crazy - one dinner for the whole family, made up of a mixture if slow-cooker meals (bulk cooked with the rest frozen for later), quick meals involving v. little cooking (eg omelettes and unprepared salad, salmon from the freezer with frozen stir-fry veg) and a mid-week ready meal/takeaway/ night where DH cooks and you eat the leftovers the next day.

You read DD her story earlyish and she gets to read/play quietly in her room until lights out.

Take what works for all of you, and throw out the rest

PeppermintPasty Fri 13-Sep-13 11:56:50

I have a 6 and 3 yo who still have baths together. I understand at 8 she might prefer to bathe alone.

But I bath them every other night. I used to bath them every night but eventually gave in to their dad who is lazy who is now their sahp and essentially couldn't be faffed giving them a bath every night.

He was right though damn. They do not turn into horrible squirming dirtboxes on the day they do not have a bath. They do however get more time to chill out either playing, reading, or just mucking about. It's nice, try it.

specialmagiclady Fri 13-Sep-13 11:57:06

I second the "eat with the kids at 6 and give DH a reheated portion": Or could he do story time? Why are you cooking twice???

Chewbecca Fri 13-Sep-13 11:57:56

I do think they need a daily bath by the way, DS is getting quite smelly now when he doesn't. BUT, it is mostly showers rather than baths and I play no part in it anymore beyond issuing an instruction to go have a shower! So this side of it should definitely get better soon (in terms of time gobbling) if you try to encourage more independence in that department.
(Or am I going to be told now that he is too young to shower/get ready for bed independently? I don't think so)

gnushoes Fri 13-Sep-13 12:05:45

Cut the bathtimes down -- children that age don't need a bath every day. And your dd is also old enough to shower herself. you could keep an eye on her to start with but she should manage happily very quickly.

melodyangel Fri 13-Sep-13 12:07:34

Friends of ours would have a family reading session each evening and take it in turns to read a page/chapter to everyone else and the little ones would get to listen. I thought it was a lovely idea. Story time all in one go, they have 4 kids, the big ones still get read to but also get to practise reading outloud.

We kept reading to our eldest until he asked us to stop. Will do the same with his little brother.

It is really important to still read to children that can read themselves.

irregularegular Fri 13-Sep-13 12:08:06

Why doesn't your DH read to her as soon as he gets in at 8 while you make dinner. Seems perfect to me.

We still read to our 11 yr old! (taking turns). It seems a bit odd, but she really likes it and it's a nice way to have some calm time together at the end of the day. On the other hand, we don't normally read to our 9 yr old as he's not that fussed.

And I agree that they don't need baths every night, but I'm mnot sure that helps so much with the timings.

squiddle Fri 13-Sep-13 12:11:18

I have cut down on bedtime reading too OP - it makes the evening so long. We always have a book on the go, but my dds are only 2 years apart so it's the same one. If we are running late or I'm really tired, I just don't do it. Sometimes I read a bit earlier, but I'd say my kids get a bedtime story 3/4 times a week.

When you are run ragged, something has to give.

gnushoes Fri 13-Sep-13 12:14:04

oh, and please don't lose yourself in all this! It was only when my kids were older that I reclaimed anything I wanted to do and it was a revelation. Even ten minutes reading the book YOU want is helpful.

BirdyBedtime Fri 13-Sep-13 12:14:41

Found this thread really interesting as DD is 8 and I was beginning to wonder when her bedtime story might stop, particularly as it stretches beyond 8.30pm now and I have to fit the housework into evenings. So I do sympathise with the OP (and totally agree with the comments about baths/2 meals etc)

She's not a particularly keen reader but I've been encouraging taking turns at bedtime so we read a chapter a night (currently a bloody Rainbow Magic fairy book) sharing the reading a page at a time. She did moan the other night though when, just through circumstance, she'd gone a couple of nights without a story so I think I'll be doing it for a while yet.

Mandy21 Fri 13-Sep-13 12:16:27

Haven't read all the replies, but I think its really important too. I have 2 x 8 yr olds (Yr 4) and 1 x 4 yr old (just started Reception). H is often not home until 8ish. There are some nights when it doesn't happen for all 3 of them just because of other activities - DS didn't get home from Cubs last night until 8.10 so he went straight to bed with just a cuddle (no reading) so for me personally, I wouldn't choose to drop it on any other night. Also, hand on heart, its 10 mins for each child, they can read by themselves later. Might be me listening to them read, might be me doing a page, them doing a page etc. Its always 1 to 1.

If you're struggling for time, can you listen to them read before tea (just for 5-10mins) and then at bedtime, if you like reading to them, its another 5-10 mins with each child rather than foregoing it completely? I also would be knocking bathtime on the head every night (surely she's not that dirty every day grin?)

I also wouldn't be cooking separately for you & your H - I do one meal for all of us. I sometimes each with the children (I plate up H's dinner and will heat it up & sit with him when he gets home) or I will plate up both of our meals and heat them up after the children have gone together. Its too much to start cooking again once the children are in bed.

I've stopped reading to my 8 year old twins as they use the time to wind each other up, don't listen to story and are generally a pain. They listen to a CD and that works for us. I tend to read while they are in the bath (seperately). Do what works for you and your evening. You could read to her before her bath. I know what it's like to get

Oops to do 2 meals and bedtime on my own every night. It's a pain.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 13-Sep-13 12:44:25

Why can't you keep your routine as it is, except your DD goes into bed to read to herself after her bath until her dad gets home, and then he can do her story while you sort your meal out.

But yes for goodness sake stop cooking twice. I can absolutely understand that you want to eat with your DH, but surely most evenings you could make something like bolognaise or a curry or casserole that just needs some veg doing and a reheat rather than starting from scratch?

goldenlula Fri 13-Sep-13 12:47:16

I haven't read all the replies bu ds1 (nearly 8) came home with a reading book that we have been requested to read to him over the next fortnight as part of a new scheme called 'Keep on Reading'. The aim of the scheme is to help families to continue to read together, so I would say yabu as the schools still see it as important. Even a five minute story is better than nothing.

stoopstofolly Fri 13-Sep-13 12:47:44

A lot of wisdom here! Thanks for all the replies grin. I do think that I need to losen up the routine, keep the bedtime reading MOST nights (unless I'm too exhausted) but get DH doing it/ read earlier etc... Think DD could start bathing herself as well and taking a bit more responsibility. She's be OK with a bath every other day- but DS comes back from nursery CAKED in gunge! Someone mentioned their older child tidying up while they were doing the little one- what a good idea! Give her some responsibility in return for pocket money and a later bedtime. I think I've just been so "head down, soldier on" about this that I was no longer seeing the wood for the trees.
I know 2 dinners seems foolish, but both children eat large school/ nursery lunches, and don't want (and won't eat) a full meal in the evening. When I say I "cook" for them, it's usually spag bol/ fishcakes and beans/ soup and bread with yogurt and fruit for pudding. Not enough for DH and I who have quick lunches with sandwiches and are greedy foodies!
I'm going to trial the New, Improved, Less -Uptight- About- Her- Routine- Stoopstofolly tonight. DD's head likely to explode!

BarbarianMum Fri 13-Sep-13 13:07:00

God yes, if she's old enough to stay up later then she's old enough to get herself ready for bed (shower, pjs, teeth). Have been training 7 year old ds1 in this ready to 'go solo' age 8. He'll still get a bedtime story though - sharing a book's totally different from reading to yourself.

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 13:09:10

please don't stop doing the storytime with her.

it's important to keep reading together up, for all sorts of reasons.

queenofdrama Fri 13-Sep-13 13:22:37

Yabu. I wish my own DM had read to me for longer :-(

thebody Fri 13-Sep-13 13:35:34

no op you are fine to do what suits you and your family.

I didn't read religiously to mine when they could read themselves as it became a ritualistic chore.

instead we ALL shared a story/games/ etc at the weekend and in holiday.

mummy martyrs are a pita. you need time too.

my 4 read fine, 24,23,14,13... grin

Catsize Fri 13-Sep-13 13:50:00

Didn't realise kids were still read to at 8, 9 etc.
I started reading to myself in bed when I could read Peter and Jane etc. so 5ish. I have no memory of being read to but know I was.

SHarri13 Fri 13-Sep-13 14:11:14

I'm going to go against the grain an tell you to give yourself a break and either drop the story or do it as normal but she has her bedtime 15-30 mins after her story.

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Fri 13-Sep-13 14:21:38

If you ask DD2 (now 16), she will tell you that she wishes I had read her bedtime stories when she was 8,9,10. I stopped because I was running a business and I seriously thought those 10-15 minutes of my time could be spent more productively. I still feel bad about it now. DD1 asked me to stop when she was about 6 or 7, because she liked listening to story tapes or reading to herself.

DS is nearly 5, and can't read more than a few words, although he loves looking at books. As a pre-schooler he was rubbish about going to bed, and even the promise of a story didn't stop him mucking about, so I gave up bedtime reading and just left him with his books. Since he started school, though, he has been brilliant about bedtime, and story time has made a comeback.

Dancergirl Fri 13-Sep-13 15:08:47

Spag bol isn't a full meal?? confused

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 15:08:56

Jesus. People are going on about reading time as if it were brushing teeth or getting adequate protein in the diet.

I read with my two youngest because they have speech and language issues. I do this early in the evening, before dinner, when they're alert. The oldest is an advanced reader. I bribe him to read challenging books on his own. Later, I cuddle him and talk about whatever.

There's a need for attention, sure, but it can be other things, at other times.

And being a knackered mummy martyr is stupid. There's nothing wrong wanting time to do what you want to do for yourself,

Crinkle77 Fri 13-Sep-13 15:32:44

Can your husband help with the reading? Granted he gets in late but you have been busy at home with the kids and haven't stopped wither.

Crinkle77 Fri 13-Sep-13 15:33:13

Maybe your husband could read to one while you read to the other and you could swap round

littlewhitebag Fri 13-Sep-13 15:37:26

I never read to my children at night beyond the baby books when they were small. I hate reading out loud. My DH on the other hand loves it to the point when he worked away from home for a period he took the book with him and read it out over the phone.

I think reading a book at the weekend to your DD is a good compromise as you could do it in the morning when you are not tired and give her longer.

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 15:39:25

Katy - it is like getting adequate protein and brushing teeth.

it's not just the body that needs to be looked after, the mind needs it too

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 15:40:28

anyway, can you do it at any other time?

or even get audio books?
reading together while eating dinner is relaxing. DH and I do this sometimes.

shouldistayorshouldagonooooooo Fri 13-Sep-13 15:48:54

YABU - it's valuable 1-2-1 time with her.
I would still read to dd1 now if she let me , she is 18!

I've just met DD1 for lunch in a really shit Asian fusion chain . That's 'our' time. Reading a book is a whole lot cheaper!!

hermioneweasley Fri 13-Sep-13 15:50:24

I am going to disagree with majority and say exhausted parents whose time together is suffering, is not good for kids either.

I woukd compromise and read to her before bath, so you still get downstairs at the same time.

thesaurusgirl Fri 13-Sep-13 15:57:22

I'm the eldest of three and both my parents worked, so the full bedtime routine was an epic production.

They stopped reading to me when I was able to read a book all the way through by myself. (It was Little House in the Big Woods, I still remember).

I don't blame my parents in the least for "cutting corners" where they could. As a result of their neglect I became a voracious reader, and so did my Dsis. Only way to stave off the boredom.

Baby DBro not so much. Rents still reading to him in double figures and couldn't understand why he was so reluctant to read independently hmm.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 16:14:30


There's no substitute for tooth brushing or protein. There are plenty of ways to intellectually and emotionally nourish a kid. Reading to them isn't some sacred thing.

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 16:19:57

Katy - as a bookseller by trade and a booklover by heart, I'm really going to have to disagree on you with this grin

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 16:23:18

stoops - what about reading to both your DS and your DD at the same time?
It doesn't matter if your DD ends up hearing a simpler book - it might even be a way to encourage her to read, if she feels like she's helping out, or sharing something lovely with her brother.

then as they both get older, you can make the books harder earlier.

It doesn't mean you have to do two storytimes, but it does mean that DD doesn't miss out. smile

(former children's laureate Anthony Browne thinks that picture books are just as important for older children, and Michael Rosen feels that reading together is such an important thing to do)

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 16:34:06

Maybe we should all spend twenty minutes a day dancing or walking with the kids. And another twenty minutes singing and playing music! Surely these are beneficial activities, and we all are being very unreasonable to not do them!

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 13-Sep-13 17:17:02

tbh at 8yr reading till 8.15ish herself is fine and i dont think needs to go to bed any later during school nights, but maybe can stay up 30mins later at weekends

if you like reading together and want/happy for her to go to bed later then i would read dd a story at normal time and allow later reading/playing quietly in room, but upstairs away from you/dh so you still get time together to chill

maybe they can have for tea whatever you had the night before, so cook once and reheat for them following night/also saving time

as a nanny if i put to bed then all dc (had 3) 5.5yr,and 8yrs would get a story but now they have the choice of one story together or extra tv and no story - sometimes one would have tv and then come up 10mins later, other times all had story and to bed

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 17:19:31

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 17:27:32

Good Lord.

PolterGoose Fri 13-Sep-13 17:27:32

I'm with nickelbabe that reading is a very special thing, and incredibly important in so many ways.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 17:34:14

My recent post was not direct at you, nickel. You said we'd have to agree to disagree., with a smiley face, and I left it at that.

Not everything is about you.

There's no need to go off on foul rants. And if you're having such a terrible day that you can't stand someone having a differing opinion, then maybe AIBU isn't where you should be right now.

I agree reading is important. I disagree that it means we have to read TO children, at bedtime, every day.

ShellingPeas Fri 13-Sep-13 17:35:09

If you follow everything you read by so called experts you'll go mad. Give yourself a break OP and read when you can. I've got 14 and 11 yr old and stopped reading to them... oooh... ages ago when they could read competently (as in Harry Potter-esque type books). One's at a grammar, the other at a mixed sex comp in the top sets. If you're a household which has adults who read (and the kids can see you do so) you'll be fine.

Can't you keep your reading time as it is but let her keep the light on for an extra 15 minutes so she can read to herself longer? Or is it staying up longer that she wants? If the latter then can you read downstairs with her at the same time as normal and let her then watch 15 mins TV while you start dinner, before she goes to bed and reads to herself?

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 17:43:15

yes, actually, today everything is about me.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 17:45:22

Well, alrighty then.

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 17:45:36

no, i don't think you need to keep reading to children at bedtime every day.

I think that reading to children is a great idea, and should be fitted in every day if possible, not necessarily just at bedtime.

I think a lot of parents make the mistake of making reading a bedtime thing.
But, I think it's great for children to be read to, no matter what their age, because it then keeps reading a fun thing, rather than a chore they have to work through.
It means they can tackle harder books than they would be able to on their own, because they don't have to spend all their time deciphering the words

nickelbabe Fri 13-Sep-13 17:46:23

sorry for yelling at you Katy - i really have had the most hellish day in a long time, and just generally, I'm not in a good place.

I shouldn't have taken it out on you. You were the proverbial straw. sad

SprinkleLiberally Fri 13-Sep-13 17:48:34

My eldest is a bit older but I don't often read to her. I am exhausted. I have work to do in the evening, have done activities with them and they can read any book by themselves. However my main reason is that I hate being read to. Really hate it. Someone else's speed, intonation etc. I hate reading aloud too. Love books though. As long as you are not depriving them of access to books I think you could cut it down to three nights a week at that age

Summerblaze Fri 13-Sep-13 17:56:51

I agree that routine is good, also that having time to yourself on a night is essential for happy parents. I also think that story time is lovely and important and I will be sad when my DC no longer wish for me to read to them.

My DH also works shifts so on his late week he arrives home at 8.30 pm. I cook the tea so me, DD (9), DS1 (5) and DS2 (17 months) eat at around 5.30 pm. I then take both boys up for a bath together at around 6.00pm. They come out and get dried together and dressed for bed, teeth brushed and then DS1 chooses his story and his teddies while I put DS2 down with his bedtime bottle and read him a story. I come back and do DS1's homework (story and flashcards) and then read him a story. While I am reading and putting the boys to bed, DD has a bath and then she also gets ready for bed, teeth brushed and hair dried. She comes back downstairs to do her homework (reading, maths, spelling) and she goes up at around 7.30pm for me to read her a story and she then reads herself until 8.00pm. DH warms his tea up when he gets home. We are sat down at 8.30pm for our evening together.

I get a little 1:1 time with each of them every night which is lovely. DS1 has developmental delay and DS2 is still only little so most of the time is quite noisy and busy.

DD does alter this routine during the week if she has an activity on by maybe not having a bath or not reading her own book but I always read to her.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 13-Sep-13 17:59:29

It's okay, nickel. I hope tomorrow goes better for you. smile

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Fri 13-Sep-13 18:10:00

Hope the slimmed-down routine is helping. I see what you're saying about the different food requirements but even so... I would also count spag bol as a full meal!

If they are having hot meals in the day I would be tempted to just do them sandwiches and fruit or yoghurt. Maybe alternate that with spag bol or something similar but for those nights you and DH eat the same, just reheat it. Other nights you could do something very quick for the two of you - piece of meat/chicken/fish griddled, salad, maybe a jacket potato in the microwave - that would be healthy and only take 15 mins. That could be your DH's job while you read or vice versa.

I also feel you are carrying a very heavy load here compared to your DH even though he works long hours - you have more things to think about and more hurdles to jump IYSWIM in the evening than he does. I would say have a talk about it all. What's his feeling about the 'prioritising your marriage' issue and what is he doing to also make that happen? Is he looking for a job closer to home, or could he do an hour's work at home in the evenings so that it would allow him to travel home earlier?

MerylStrop Fri 13-Sep-13 18:22:17


I have 3 kids, and we are both self-employed so work is insane.

DS1 and DD read to themselves, much later than they probably should. DS2 gets a few stories, he's 3. We read aloud all together at weekends and when we can fit it in. Every night = impossible.

And everyone EATS THE SAME SUPPER. If one of us is out late the person at home either eats with the kids or waits to eat it reheated. Dependent on mood. We all eat together at weekends and when we can fit it in.

NorfolkIngWay Fri 13-Sep-13 18:42:49

Summer that is exactly how we did it - am a great believer in bedtime routine.
Can I come and live at your house? grin

WetGrass Fri 13-Sep-13 18:49:03

Where's this fucking 15 minutes nonsense?

DS1 laboriously reads a chapter of Roald Dahl to me every night. It is a charming hour of attention. I've moved on to lying next to him with my eyes shut!

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