We’ve got bad news and good news. Bad news is, if your children are old enough to start reading independently, but don’t want to, then you are about six years too late to do this thing right. Good news is that there is still time to try and fix it.
But first, let’s get one thing out of the way. When children hate reading it is not because of their nature or personality (unless they are dyslexic or otherwise struggling with language mechanics), it is most likely because the parents have failed to provide the proper environment for developing the reading habit. And here’s how you do it once your kids are already reading age.
Don’t be a hypocrite
Kids have a keen sense of fairness. Which is why you’d have a hard time explaining to them how come you don’t do any reading if it’s supposed to be so good. And they’d have a point. So, pick up a book, and set a good example. An ideal case would be if you and your child read at the same time or even in the same room. Make it a family tradition and an opportunity for bonding.
Create a reading routine
The good thing about routines is that they are transparent, predictable, and non-negotiable. They take a bit of effort to set up, but are pretty self-sustaining after that. For reading, a good routine would be to have a short session on a daily basis, or, at the very least, on certain days, like weekdays, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — whatever works for your family. Research says that the duration of the session doesn’t have to be more than 15 minutes, which should be doable for any child.
We’ve already talked about a family reading session, and it’s a good place to start. When everyone is reading at the same time, it means no one is doing anything else, and your child is not afraid of missing out. Another powerful distraction is technology, and mobile devices in particular. An optimal solution would be to use parental control software in order to block entertainment apps during certain hours. But an elegant solution would be to use a dedicated reading app that locks all other apps until a certain amount of reading has been done.
Any of those little parenting tricks might do, but try to combine them for maximum effect. In case you are stretched pretty thin as it is, go for the reading app option – it takes just a few minutes to set up and works like a charm. But, whatever you do, remember to stop blaming your children for what they do or don’t it – they are just a reflection of your parenting approach. Good luck 😉