6 Tips to help you Survive Reading Time

The saying goes, if you read 50 books a year on a topic you can become an expert in that field. Needless to say that reading is crucial, knowledge is important and vocabulary is significant. So because we know this, our family does an hour of reading with the kids before bed each night and it is exhausting 😅 It’s actually kind of weird how we worked our way up to an hour. It started years ago with one tedious picture book, then each son wanted to pick a book even though they didn’t always listen to their book being read.

Mr. L can never have too many train books

Then one night Mr. L started reading some of the words over my husband’s shoulder and my husband and I looked at each other in shock because we didn’t know he could read! We knew he liked letters- like naming them and arranging them, but his teachers never told us he could read! So then we started adding in a simple book to have him read as well.

Then Mr. C wanted to read! So we traded off having the kids read, and we kept reading picture books to them. But one day at the library I decided to be adventurous and I added in a very basic chapter book. So then we had 2 picture books, each kid read a book, we read a chapter from a chapter book, and of course around the same time it was time to add in some kid appropriate scripture reading…

Now our current situation usually looks a bit like this: 1- scripture reading, 2- two reading level books, 3- one picture book, 4- baby book for Little Miss A to “read”, 5- then we finish off with the rest of the hour with the 2nd Harry Potter book 😳

Little Miss A riding on her Nimbus 2000

But the real question is, how do we keep 3 kids in the same room for an hour of reading? Well I’m going to be honest, it’s not easy and it involves A LOT of shhhh’ing. But here are a few of our current tricks that have been working.

  • Snacks
  • Changing rooms
  • Kids sit on my lap when it’s their turn
  • Live aquarium
  • Legos
  • Looking at other informational books


We’ve recently decided to add in snacks to make it fun, and more importantly to keep their little mouths busy while I try to read 😉 These snacks are often frozen Pb&j’s, pretzels, sliced apples, pealed oranges, cheese sticks, chocolate milk, yogurt, etc. I bring an array of things, and change it up a little bit to keep it interesting. I’m also hoping that by Mr. L seeing his siblings eating other snacks, that he will branch out and try something besides his cheese stick, milk, and pb&j.

Changing Rooms

For the longest time we’ve always done reading time in the kid’s room because it’s part of their bedtime routine. But just recently I’ve been branching out and letting the kids move about the hallway, and just the last couple of nights we’ve been trying reading time in my husband and my bedroom just to change things up.

Kids sit on my lap when it’s their turn

This one has been surprisingly helpful with my long legged Mr. L, his younger brother is only interested in this maybe 50% of the time. But Mr. L seems to calm after the initial fight of pulling him on to my lap. He does sprawl out well past my legs, but I think he likes the personal momma attention. And Little Miss A is always up for being in my lap, so no fights from her, except to try to play king of the mountain on me to fight off her brothers.

Live aquarium

Anyone who knows me would know how ridiculous this one is and would probably assume I was extremely desperate. I have a huge phobia of all aquatic life. So obviously the fish tank isn’t live, but it feels like it to me… My husband and I decided to try putting on a silent live aquarium on our bedroom tv and I sat with my back to it while reading to the kiddos. The exotic fish and giant sharks sometimes keep the kids quiet and to make sure they can still hear me, I occasionally stop and take turns asking my kids to answer questions about what I just read.


So basically this one only works when Little Miss A has gone to bed because she just has the biggest need to throw whatever lego pieces her brothers are working with. But when it’s just her older brothers playing with legos, they can do a pretty good job of staying quiet during reading, but can keep up with the questions I ask them when Im checking to see if they are listening and comprehending.

Looking at other informational books

You might ask how reading other books helps them hear me read, but at this point, they usually aren’t trying to actually read advanced informational books about outer space, dinosaurs, trains, or how their body functions work. So at this point it’s kind of like the aquarium idea, it gives them something to look at and keep busy, while listening to reading time.

Other ideas to try

Here are some other ideas I’m hoping to try later, when I think my kids can handle them.

  • Puzzles
  • Coloring books
  • Bead projects
  • Play-doh
  • Drawing

And if you’re wondering why I go through all this work… The two main reasons are, I know reading is important and the kids literally freak out if we try to put them to bed without reading to them first 😏😅

Do you read to other people? Do you have any tips you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below and please remember to follow, like, and share! ✌️

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  1. What a great family bonding time. I’ve never added in the variety that you have, but I’ve never read to three of different ages at the same time (only in the classroom 😉).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We read books in the car , on trips. My parents were readers, even through reading wasn’t easy for my mom( school was hard for her). They made sure that my sister and I had many opportunities they didn’t. Dad loved vocabulary words, he delighted in teaching a new word to my toddlers and how to use it, on every visit , often more like one a day. Lil’ Miss’s auntie spend a weekend questioning us about the agenda and itinerary for the day. Grandpa bought magazine subscriptions , for the grands from young age.
    Keep up the good work try different things.
    They are learning even when you think they aren’t. 30years of 8 and under Primary teaching, even the upside down kiddos in the corner usually know the answer. We all learn differently, but loving and positive experience is best.

    Liked by 2 people

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