Suggestions re ds, 8, just wants to read all night and keeps putting his light back on!

(49 Posts)
bramblina Thu 09-May-13 21:43:41

Ds is an avid reader, I'm so glad, but at night he gets between 15mins and an hour of reading in bed before lights out depending on what time he goes to bed, we like his light to be out about 8.30/9 (depends on how tired he is) and he can be exhausted but just wants to read on and on and on...

I'm delighted he loves reading, I praise him, encourage him, but after tucking him in he'll put his light back on and read some more. I find him, light out and tuck him in. And again. So we have removed his bulb, he'll find another way. We have removed priviledges, he waits then does it again the following week- BUT I don't really want to punish him for reading, I just want to encourage him to realise when he is so bloody tired that perhaps he shouldn't put his light back on AGAIN...! I also don't see the point in taking his bulb out- I reckon at 8 he should understand the resposibility....?

Any ideas?

MrsFrederickWentworth Thu 09-May-13 21:57:03

Be grateful. I have a Ds who hates books.
But, I was like that. So I know that if you do this he will smuggle a torch under the bed clothes.

What you can do and was done to me at boarding school was to make me read for 1/2 hour quite a hard book, and then 1/2 hour with an easier book. And staying up later at weekends.

By quite a hard book I really mean it. It was tiring.

And you can tell him that you will come in to check. If he knows that you are doing that regularly, he will soon learn. Or you sit outside his room until he goes to sleep. It's about breaking the habit.

stargirl1701 Thu 09-May-13 22:01:14

I did this. I had torches hidden everywhere! I still do this when I get a new book I've been desperate to read. No advice, I'm afraid. No punishment my parents ever devised made me stop. I loved reading more than anything else so I had little incentive to stop.


DameFanny Thu 09-May-13 22:03:54

I read by the light of the street light 15 yards away... Sorry, no helpful suggestions other than maybe a specific chapter book and he reads one chapter only after you've tucked him in?

SavoyCabbage Thu 09-May-13 22:06:29

My dd is like this too. She has a timer that she has on for reading time and switches it the lights off when the time is up. On Friday and Saturday nights she is allowed to read as long as she likes.

I thinking depends in how tired he is. If he doesn't need the sleep then that's fine but if he does then its the same as playing on a DS. half the night.

ChippingInLovesSunshine Thu 09-May-13 22:06:43

LOL - you can't win with kids I swear!

I used to read under the covers with my torch, then when that was confiscated, but whatever light I could get coming through the window - which was not much.

I'm a good few years older than your DS and still have little self control when it comes to reading in bed grin

PoppyWearer Thu 09-May-13 22:11:04

Oh, I used to do this too!

Grockle Thu 09-May-13 22:15:24

My DS(7) is like this too, as was I. It is a lovely problem to have & feels so wrong to have to threaten to take books away.

mamapants Thu 09-May-13 22:16:58

I used to do this too. Although I went to bed far earlier than 9 so probably wasn't actually that late in reality by the time I finished.
Is 9 late for an 8 year old to go to bed? I only have a baby so don't know seems late to me. Is he overtired already and then struggling to get to sleep. Only a suggestion have no idea about bedtimes for more grown up children.

amistillsexy Thu 09-May-13 22:22:24

I have two who do this, and another one who would if he could read long enough books!
It's horrible to see them so tired in the mornings, and they can keep themselves awake the next night, even though they're dropping throughout the day.
Even earlier nights don't work. They just seem to stay awake for even longer if I send them to bed early!

Sorry, OP, I'm no use whatsoever confused

bramblina Thu 09-May-13 22:47:43

Oh dear shock do you think I should just give up?!

I really don't want to restrict his reading, it seems so unfair to him.

I've just chatted to dh about this. Thank you all for your help....we are going to just let him get on with it. I'll tuck him in and he can just read on and put his light out himself. We don't know what else to do!!!

Thanks, folks smile

sashh Fri 10-May-13 06:13:13

Rather than take the light, take the book with you.

Agree chapters rather than time. It is terrible to have to put a book down with only 2 pages of a chapter to go.

Although I hate the idea of destroying books tear it into sections, let him have a chapter each night.

Yes I used a torch under the duvet.

At 2 am this morning I decided to switch my Kindle of as I was falling asleep into it.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 06:19:33

Interesting. Would you feel th same way if he was watching TV when you had told him not to?

Books really aren't much different- he is doing something he has rpeatedly been told not to!

SofiaAmes Fri 10-May-13 06:29:15

Maybe he just doesn't need the sleep. My two dc's are on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of sleep needs. My ds needs 11-12 hours a night. My dd is good with 8 - 9. She is 10 and I quite often will let her stay up late to read. My rule of thumb is if she wakes up without an alarm in time for school.

VanitasVanitatum Fri 10-May-13 08:22:14

I used to do this. I wouldn't say leave him to it, I think you'll have to take his book, maybe don't store any in his room. Now I'm an adult who can leave my light on I still struggle to turn it off at a sensible time!! If you're so into a book you will tire yourself out to read it you're not making a sensible choice.

Lack of sleep can be physically damaging to brain development. He will absolutely exhaust himself.

SavoyCabbage Fri 10-May-13 09:19:09

That's what I think Seeker. My dd comes home, takes her shoes off, goes in her room, shuts the door and that's the last we see of her. She wants to read all weekend and even in the back of the car. I know I wouldn't let her be on a computer like that for hours. When she went on school camp I wouldn't let her take a book as I knew she wouldn't mess about with her friends which is a part of the experience.

DeWe Fri 10-May-13 09:33:01

I have the same with dd2 now aged 9yo.
She gets: "finish the end of the chapter" warning-with us checking how long till the next chapter, and what the next chapter is. If she hasn't finished in reasonable time we give her a warning, then come back in 5 minutes, and if the light isn't out/she's stopped reading the book is taken.

I did at one point remove all the books from her room except the one she's reading, so she now knows I will do that if necessary which has helped.

DeepRedBetty Fri 10-May-13 09:40:50

I've got another obsessive reader. I can see if her lights are on without her knowing, and if she's still reading at my bedtime the book gets taken away.

DeepRedBetty Fri 10-May-13 09:43:03

sorry posted too soon, I know if she hears me coming up she'll turn the light out and pretend to be asleep, then turn it back on when she thinks I'm settled. I've caught her out a couple of times when I went to the loo... so now I pop outside and look up at her window for evidence! Don't need to do it often though.

Seb101 Fri 10-May-13 09:44:10

It's a behaviour issue IMO. Doesn't matter that reading is great, if you've said no, that's it! Just cause he's doing something 'good' doesn't mean you should excuse him disobeying you. It's likely he knows your not serious about stopping this behaviour. Like someone else said, if he was watching tv all night, you'd stop it. I'd discipline him the way you would for any other unwanted behaviour. It won't stop his love of reading I'm sure.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 10-May-13 09:48:51

Take the bulbs out.

colditz Fri 10-May-13 09:53:56

Nobody ever managed to stop me reading unless they took the books. Reading is an important skill, but so is exercise, and IT, an communication via media, and we don't let kids do that at bedtime.

HousewifeFromHeaven Fri 10-May-13 09:54:35

My 11 year old ds is the same!!

I tried hiding all the reading lights, and he'd use the light from his alarm clock instead.

I have now given up. There's worse things to be doing IMO.

HousewifeFromHeaven Fri 10-May-13 09:54:58

I was the same as well blush

WandaDoff Fri 10-May-13 10:02:51

Nobody ever managed to stop me, I still fall asleep reading my kindle most nights.

haggisaggis Fri 10-May-13 10:13:13

If it was a games console you would just remove it - so do the same with the book. Read until prescribed time then take it (them) away.

seeker Fri 10-May-13 10:22:51

Are people just a little bit proud of their bookworms? grin

Replace "book" with "iPod" and see what responses you get!

DorisShutt Fri 10-May-13 10:24:57

Audio books.

Then he still gets the story without the eye strain - and will fall asleep!

DeWe Fri 10-May-13 10:26:41

You can tell if the light was on by feeling the temperature of the lightbulb. Don't touch too hard though or you may get burnt. grin

I'm so glad to see other people have the same problem!! Whenever I've asked for advice IRL, I usually just get "oh, isn't it wonderful that she's reading" - yes, but also would be wonderful if she did what she was asked...

At one point we had to take the bulb out of her bedside lamp too. She just went and read in the bathroom!

On the other hand, she's just aced the reading element of the standardised tests, so, y'know, swings and roundabouts...

He's still quite young - could you do a starchart where if he goes a week with lights out at reasonable time he can buy a new book/charity shop book on Saturday?

Starxx Fri 10-May-13 13:14:29

If the books are reachable they will be picked up!

My son loves to read at bedtime so we have a story (whether he reads that to me or I to him) but when I leave, I tell him he has half an hour and then the book must go down and he must go to sleep.... he is in bed for 7 (he is 7.5 years) and ususally therefore going to sleep by 7.30pm.

I have caught him reading past this, reminded him and taken the book.....which is what I would do!

All for loving and encouring the reading but when its bed time its bed time!!

Star xx

mistlethrush Fri 10-May-13 13:19:04

My 8 yo does this too - but the difference is that we get him in bed (normally) by about 7.15 so say he can read until 7.30 then its lights out - occasionally have an issue with the light going on again, but we've explained that the problem is that he's tired the next day and its better to read for a bit and then go to sleep so that you can start reading again in the morning.... At the moment that's working.

NowWhatIsit Fri 10-May-13 15:32:50

I'm so pleased you posted this, become a real issue for us. My nearly 9 year old does this, he seems unable to self regulate at all. The only method that works is sitting outside his door, but it means staying there half the night, I can't spend hours of my life this way!!
We left it for a couple of weeks to see what would happen if we didn't police him, he stayed up till 11 or 12, was like a zombie, couldn't concentrate in class, couldn't do his.homework and I got called into school about it. We have taken bulb out - he goes to bathroom, we have pulled fuse for his entire floor- he crawls down to pool of light on stairs etc. We have tried rewards, punishments etc. Nothing works. All suggestions gratefully received#

PolterGoose Fri 10-May-13 16:06:11

We had similar issue, except that ds would stop reading at the set time and then be unable to get to sleep and keep calling us to let us know he couldn't sleep (he has SNs which don't help with sleep). In the end, over a summer holiday 2 years ago when he was 8, I agreed he could read as long as he wanted as long as there was no calling out. If he called out for something less than very important he would have to have a lights out time. We had about 6-8 weeks of reading up to and beyond midnight, then it levelled off, now some nights he reads until 9.30pm and others until 8pm, he wakes at the same time every day.

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 10-May-13 16:41:49

The boarding school trick was

Exhaust you physically
Milk and biscuit
1/2 hour tough book
1/2 hour your choice book
Lights out
Matron sat outside. Any noise, movement, light, got a telling off, or sitting on the stairs with nothing to do.

After a week or so you were tired and tired of the punishments and sleep and virtue coincided.

I followed this with Ds, pretty much, on other things. It works. Two weeks, with latitude at weekends, isn't too hard. Esp if you have a glass of wine and book to hand.

Jinty64 Sat 11-May-13 07:44:11

Get him to bed for 7.30pm. Tell him he can read until 8.30pm then he must put the light out. Tell him that you will be up at 8.40pm to check - this gives him 10 mins to finish the chapter. If he has started another one then it's his problem. Go up at 8.40, turn out the light if he hasn't, tuck him in and take the book with you when you leave. If he puts the light back on and gets another book then punish for disobedience.

Be very consistent and he will get it. You could have slightly different rules at the weekend if you prefer.

I agree that disobedience is disobedience. Firm conversation about right, wrong and the fact that if he doesn't do as he's told the bulb will come out of his light at lights out time, but you'd rather be able to trust him.

DS lies over the end of his bed and reads by the light in the hall - he gets firm warnings and a threat (rarely carried out) to shut the door.

DD has audio books on after lights out, but they don't keep you awake quite as much. It's a spectrum, with computer games being the worst at bedtime (because they physically keep you awake more than anything else - I've never fallen asleep playing a game, even when I was a teen and went through a phase of playing til the small hours, but I've fallen asleep while watching TV, and I sleep with a book in my hand almost every night) then TV (because of the light) then books then audiobooks and music, which are fairly innocuous IMO.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 08:00:00

Absolutely. The rules shouldn't be different because it's a book.

He is being disobedient and you need to remove the book from his room and tell him when he is responsible enough to not turn his light back on he can have his book back.

Yes it is nice that he reads but of he is so tired it is at the cost of concentration at school well it's not good is it?

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 08:15:58

I really wouldn't forcibly restrain him from reading. Blimey. Just let him.

seeker Sat 11-May-13 08:26:41

That's fine- if you don't have bedtimes. Some people don't. But if you do, there is no difference between a child reading and a child playing computer games. Except that you can be secretly proud of one and not of the other!

"oh, it's such a struggle to get little Ethelred to sleep at night- he jloves Call of Duty so much- he's just raced throughout the first few missions and can't wait for the next one. I've actually had to disconnect the wifi in the evenings now!" <Tinkle of modest laughter>

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 08:32:59

I think there's a massive difference between a child reading and a child playing computer games. Huge. I don't think it much matters what they read, either.

Ours had/have bedtimes but for reading, their bedtimes would have been infinitely elastic.

ByTheSea Sat 11-May-13 08:34:03

DH and I were both like this. We decided early on not to have a lights-out policy with the DC as we would just sneak read anyway when our parents tried.

alienbanana Sat 11-May-13 08:52:23

My parents used to flick the fuse box and cut power to just the lights upstairs. We didn't have torches so that was fairly effective!

seeker Sat 11-May-13 08:55:09

"I think there's a massive difference between a child reading and a child playing computer games. Huge. I don't think it much matters what they read, either."


Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 09:02:06

Reading improves vocabulary, grammar and all forms of language development and expression. It stimulates the imagination and creativity. It helps academically in later life - we all know fluent readers and stumbling readers and the fluent readers have it much easier. It helps in the workplace as an adult - early-stage avid readers read more quickly and are used to processing the information readily.

I don't know of any benefits for computer gaming. Do you?

seeker Sat 11-May-13 09:07:11

Enough sleep does that too.

And doing what you're asked to do when you're 8 has its benefits too.

parachutesarefab Sat 11-May-13 09:13:08

You need to decide whether it's an issue for you. You sound as if you want him to stop reading at lights out, but that you don't follow it through. He's learnt that if he keeps trying to read eventually you'll just let him.

Either you decide that he can keep his light on for as long as he wants, or
Lights out is a particular time. Any reading after that is disobediance. Treat it as you would if he was getting up and running around (it's good, it's exercise) or helping himself to fruit and veg from the kitchen (it's good, it's healthy).

Try a reward chart, where enough stars means he gets a new book, family outing (or some other treat).

But also have consequences if he does keep reading. Removing the book is the obvious one. (And not having other books in his room). Losing other treats or priveledges will work too.

You won't stop his love of reading. You will teach him that sometimes you have to wait for things you like, as something else is more important (sleep).

Computer games are more addictive, force you to stay awake more, and the light is actively detrimental to sleep. I don't approve of disobedience and reading after bedtime, but gaming is worse.

Similarly I wouldn't let my DS get out of bed for a regular 11pm snack even if it was quinoa and lentil salad, but a Mars Bar would be worse.

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