I’ll be honest, I had a bedtime reading routine in place with V, and when V2 came along, I struggled to find a balance.
I was too exhausted and preoccupied physically, emotionally and mentally, to just pick up a book and read.
But we did establish a solid bedtime reading routine with the girls early on, and that remains my favourite sanity saver.
Here’s a list of easy tips that helped while transitioning to reading to 2.
1. In the early days it’s about easing the transition for the elder child.
I remember nights when V2 would be more interested in feeding and I would nurse while reading to V. It was a reminder for V that she was still loved just the same, and reading together was important to me.
2. We usually first read V2’s book and then V’s. It’s an opportunity for them to wait for their turn, plus a chance to hear two books.
Bonus, we expose V2 to wonderful language, V gets to revisit some of her old books, and sometimes read it aloud for V2.
Some days, when the husband is home early, we split reading aloud – one child to one parent.
3.There are days when V2 finishes her book & crawls off to play with the AC remote (if you are a parent, you probably know) or her soft toy. There are difficult days, but I try to ensure each child of mine gets one-on- one reading time. It could be 2 minutes or a long 10 minute book, but that is our special, sacred time.
4.The choice of books matters. It’s a reassurance of love on difficult days, or when it is related to a passing conversation during the day, it is a reminder to the child that we were listening. Some days, when V feels a bit down, I get her to do the important job of picking V2’s bedtime book.
5. As with every other area of parenting, be prepared for curveballs and celebrate small wins. Some nights, we all read aloud at the same time. Some nights are straight out of a fairy tale, while on others, we are met with a streak of a hundred odd follow up questions from V.
Of course, V2 doesn’t talk or question yet, but we look forward to that phase with grace.
We have an obligation to read to our children. To use read-aloud time as bonding time, when no phones are being checked, & the distractions of the world are put aside.
Never forget that to read to our children is a privilege. Always invite the child to read with love, enthusiasm & reverence.