Stop Reading So Much

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She's in college now. Gone are the days of hiding the flashlight under her blanket when her parents would check to make sure she was asleep. It's been a while since she got so wrapped up in a book that she finished it only to discover the bathwater she's been reading in has become uncomfortably cold. No more do adults tell her to quit reading and go do something else. "It's been a while," she confides, "since my mom has fussed at me for 'reading too much.' That's partly because I haven't been around. And partly because I haven't had as much time to read."

Late Night Reading

I can't imagine my mom telling my sister to "stop reading so much."

But maybe that's because my mom had already told me to stop playing my computer games and go outside to play <smile>.

"It's a good thing my mom and your mom never got into a discussion about books," I tell her. "I don't think my mom would agree that you can read too much." Read at the wrong time, not have a healthy balance, not listen to your parents? I could see my mom having a problem with that. But the simple act of reading? That's a good thing.

So, here's the question: How do you maintain proper balance in your house? Do your kids try to sneak books into bed? Have you ever had to tell your kids to quit reading? It feels strange to suggest that you could ever read too much...

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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  1. We have to have a rule about not reading at the table. It's never ok at supper, but if one is eating breakfast or lunch by themselves? Or what if everyone is reading? We allow it some, but then table manners go to pot!

  2. My son just became an independent reader last week. One day he already "refused" to come down from his rest time because he was reading. Another evening he cried when he realized that his little brother had been playing with his lantern/flashlight and left it on until the batteries ran out and he said, "how am I going to read after bedtime now?" Today he sounded out the word 'satellite' and then smiled with so much pride that it almost made me cry.

    I love it.

  3. Amira

    Our issue is bathrooms....they want to read whole books in there, never mind that someone else may need that room!!! And yes, absolutely no reading at the table. Reading is wonderful!!!

  4. Rikki

    We decided to give our son permission to stay up for half an hour later as long as he is reading quietly. That privilege is revoked if he has a chronic bad attitude during the day- a cranky child often is a tired child. We also told him that on nights when he was out or up past 8:00 (his "bedtime" is 7:30 with lights out at 8) he wouldn't get reading time, so this week our church has had VBS until 9 every night, which means he isn't getting into bed until almost 10 so no reading time this week. The little guy had been sneaking with his flashlight. We decided that it might be wise to just give him permission to stay up a little later to read and wind down. This has worked well- he isn't lying to us through his actions or breaking any rule about bedtime this way and he gets to do something he loves.

  5. Jill

    Some parents have a hard time keeping their kids in pants...I have a hard time keeping my oldest son in books!

    We let our kids read as long as it doesn't put schoolwork behind.

    We have often had to take our children's electronic reading devices from them late at night (and I mean late). But, the times that stand out in my mind about post-bedtime reading are the few times that we've found a little light on in their room and have blazed in there ready to reprimand only to find a tiny voice saying, "But...I'm reading my scriptures. This story is just so good."

    That, my dear parents, is awesome! :-D

  6. Yes, I've had to tell one of my children to stop reading. :)

    It does sound crazy, doesn't it? But there are two times of day when I might have to issue such an order. One is when it's time for supper, and the rest of us are gathered around the table, and my son Josiah is still lying on the couch, far away in whatever land and time period his book deals with. I try to give him a friendly warning a few minutes before he has to stop, so that he can find a good stopping place; but sometimes he acts like he CANNOT tear himself away from his book, and then I have to get a little firmer. :)

    The other time is bedtime. We do let our oldest two sons stay up later than the little ones so they can read, but Josiah ALWAYS wants to read later than we think he should. He always has a hard time finding a good stopping place and would really rather just finish the book!

    Having such a voracious reader is a good problem to have. ;-)

  7. Maryanne

    Oh I giggled when I read this article. As a long time night reader myself, great childhood memories of reading under the covers with a flash light (torch in Australia), I have been proud and pleased too see my children silently bundled up in a cosy spot reading voraciously. They read in bed, we make them stop if it gets too late, and we're awake to realise. If they are crotchety during the day I question how late they stayed up, and don't give them quarter when it comes to work! They have to soldier on, as do I when I stay up reading. All that said, I have confiscated books from my "worst" reading addict. She will stop anything anytime to go back to her books, piano practise, showering, harp practise... it gets a bit out of hand. Having the last two homeschoolers still at home, I have had to institute a new rule: No recreational reading during school/lesson hours. I mean we have to do maths sometime, right?

  8. Great insights! As I suspected: It's very easy to read at the wrong times, but far harder to "read too much" <smile>.