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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?

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!

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

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.

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?

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Well, alrighty then.

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

yes, actually, today everything is about me.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 13-Sep-13 17:40:51

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?

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Good Lord.

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

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

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

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!

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)

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

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.

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.

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.

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!!

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