Should I Limit My Kid’s Reading?

My son was slow to learn to read. He left kindergarten with six-month delay in his reading abilities and this caused me to worry. Compared to all the other kids who were already speeding through Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Encyclopedia Britannica, my son was still struggling, even with that damned Cat in the Hat.

But, thanks to an IEP (Individual Education Program) and being placed in an inclusion class with a higher ratio of teachers to kids, he emerged from first grade a confident reader. Now, halfway through second grade, he’s become a ravenous reader. I can’t stop him! If he’s not stuffing his face, watching TV or playing with Legos, you’ll find him knee-deep in books. He devours them. It’s a beautiful thing.

Until it’s bedtime, that is.

It’s nice that his bedtime no longer involves hours of negotiation after tucking him in and reading together (“Yes, I’ll rub your back some. Yes, I’ll get you some water. No, I won’t read another book. Yes, I will put another light on. No, you can not still be hungry …!”) Now, all he needs is a quick hug, a kiss and a tussle of his hair and, quite frankly, he’d probably not even notice if I didn’t do that, because his nose is firmly stuck in a book. Either side of his pillow are books. At the last count, there were about 12 books around his bed.

But the “problem” is he’s staying awake longer and longer at night, sometimes not falling asleep until 9.30 or 10pm which, in my mind, is too late for an eight year-old. Especially one who, until this past month, was averaging 10 or 11 hours sleep a night. It makes for grumpy mornings, that’s for sure.

I realize that he is growing up and maybe that means his bedtime no longer needs to be the same as his five year-old sister. But at the same time, it’s ridiculous when he and I are going to sleep at the same hour!

After talking with friends with kids of the same age, I discovered that this “problem” seems to be happening across the board with our kids. Most advocated setting a 9pm “lights off” hour, something which I’m trying to now enforce.

But my son keeps asking, “Why are you trying to stop me reading, when all along, you’ve been trying to encourage me to read better and more?”

And, he has a point.

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2 Comments

  1. 1026asha

     /  March 9, 2013

    It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Must be so confusing to someone his age. We struggle with this at our home too. However, I do feel that there can be “too much of a good thing” and it is a part of our job as parents to help them understand they have to set limits. Even, if what they are doing is a good thing. In your son’s case, I guess if he had been so tired at school when he was doing IEP, would it have had the same impact on his reading? Personally, I have habitually burned the candle at both ends – late to bed, early to rise to fit more into the day and I am really only now starting to realize the detrimental effects it has on me as a person during my awake hours. I know younger bodies can probably take the beating :), but I am hoping to curb this habit in my kids at least while I can…it works for my daughter but not for my son.

    Reply
  2. Anita

     /  March 9, 2013

    It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Must be so confusing to someone his age. We struggle with this at our home too. However, I do feel that there can be “too much of a good thing” and it is a part of our job as parents to help them understand they have to set limits. Even, if what they are doing is a good thing. In your son’s case, I guess if he had been so tired at school when he was doing IEP, would it have had the same impact on his reading? Personally, I have habitually burned the candle at both ends – late to bed, early to rise to fit more into the day and I am really only now starting to realize the detrimental effects it has on me as a person during my awake hours. I know younger bodies can probably take the beating , but I am hoping to curb this habit in my kids at least while I can…it works for my daughter but not for my son.

    Reply

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