Wednesday, November 18, 2015

But Mommy likes to read at bedtime

In the evenings, my wonderful husband supervises our son's bath activities and I am the one who gets to read to him at night. I don't remember how this started. I don't think we made any sort of agreement or arrangement around it - it may have been a natural progression of my cleaning up after dinner, him taking the little guy upstairs for bed, and our son liking to snuggle with me more (generally speaking).

But according to some new Harvard research, my husband should be the one reading to our son at bedtime. When I read books to my son at night, I ask him questions, like "What do you think the main character is feeling right now?" or "Do you remember where we are in the story? What was the last thing that happened?" But, when men ask stories, they focus more on ones that test a child's imagination, such as "Look at that bear, do you remember the time that we saw the bear at the zoo?"

Add all of this to the list of questions provided by the school that I am supposed to be asking my son to help him determine things like the book's setting and the author's purpose in writing the story. (Think about that last one for a moment. That's a hard one to answer for a Captain Underpants book.)

Here's the thing: I love reading to my son. And although I know my husband does a great job at it, I am not ready to give it up yet. I will happily incorporate more imaginative questions into my readings as long as I don't have to give up that special time I have with my son for an end-of-the-day snuggle.

Who does the majority of reading with the children in your family? Tell me in the comments.


  1. I do most of the reading in our house - mostly because I love to read and my husband, not so much. He gets read to - meaning our 7 year old reads her daily allotment to him in the evenings while I put the 4 year old to bed. I've been reading to them since the beginning and now it's hard to change the routine. If I'm not home he happily reads to them (and they let him!) but if I'm home it's definitely my "job" to read the bedtime stories.

    1. I agree, Jessica, it's hard to change the routine you've had for so many years, but it is good that your daughter is in the habit of reading to him!

  2. When we had one child, we traded reading more. When our 2nd was born (the 1st was 4 years old), I got baby duty so Jason started reading to our son (older) and I started reading to our daughter (youngest). It stayed that way for a while until recently when our son (now 12) started wanting extra time to read to himself in the evening. I am still reading to our daughter though (now 8). She reads to herself now too but we split her reading time between her reading and me reading to her since she still enjoys both.

    Oddly, neither of us really does much dialogue (other than what is written) while reading out loud. We might discuss content after we're done reading - or in the middle if it's something really complex or interesting - but usually just read as written during the actual reading phase - though of course we do accents for most of the characters! Duh. Given that both our kids are great readers, I don't think they missed out without the extra commentary. So, if I were you, just keep reading to your son and don't worry about what the "experts" say.