don't read to your kids: no good can come of it!

May 2, 2012

image from Rain Talk by Mary Serfozo

I've been reading to Juliet since she was a baby. And I always thought it was a good idea.

Until now.

Here are my top four reasons why you should NOT read to your kid.

1. Reading to your kid will eventually make them smarter than you. 

And while I have no problem with my kid being smart or even smarter than myself one day, I never in my wildest dreams thought that "one day" would occur when she was a mere 5 years old. 18 I could have handled, but 5? It's too much.

Here's a conversation we had a few nights ago:

Mom, tell me something SCIENTIFIC.

Ummmm...okay, let's see....butterflies have tiny scales on their wings that...

I already know THAT. It was in a book. Tell me something else that I DON'T know.

(while I wrack my brain for something, anything scientific that I could tell my five year old...)

I'm sorry. I don't think I know anything that you don't already know. We read the same science books, so we probably know the same things at this point. 

(in which she wracks her brain trying to fathom the horrible fact that she knows more than her mother. In the end, she just rejects reality.)

Just think of SOMETHING. 

Maybe tomorrow night. 


2. Reading to your kids will increase their vocabulary. 

I know, I know. Again, that seems like a good thing.

Until this happens:

Your mother-in-law is over, she's helping out with the baby while you are trying to get some cleaning done. Your older child is playing happily on her own.

Everything is fine until you hear your well-read child scream, "Get back, you brutes!!!" at the top of her lungs and then proceed to furiously kick the refrigerator over and over again.

Your mother-in-law then looks at you, laughs, and says, "Where did that come from?"

And you will have to say, "I have no idea....but I'm guessing it was in a book."

(It took me a few weeks, but I eventually hunted down the source of this outburst: Lady and the Tramp)

3. Reading to your kid will give them an active imagination.

Again, at the beginning of my parenting journey, stimulating my child's imagination was one of my number one goals.

I've begun to rethink it lately.

More specifically, I began to rethink it when I became a step-mom.

No. I did not remarry. The man I am married to is the one and only man I have ever been married to.

He, too, has only been married to me and the only children we have our the ones we have together.

So, how am I a step-mom, you ask?

I'm a step-mom because Juliet has read too many fairy tales.

You've probably noticed that most fairy tale heroines live under the care of wicked step-mothers. (Cinderella, Snow White, etc...)

My daughter believes, as every young girl her age does, that she is a princess.

So, since she is a princess, it naturally follows that she needs a step-mom.

Here's where I come in.

Fortunately, she has graciously allowed me to be a "nice step-mom."

So there is that.

4. They will use books to outwit you. 

Fables may seem like useful, edifying reading material, but don't let them fool you. The minute they get a chance, your kids will backtalk you with those same lessons.

Last fall, I gave Juliet the task of deseeding the pumpkin while I made dinner. I worked for about 15 minutes, walked over to check on her progress and discovered she had only pulled out 3 seeds.

I calmly said, "You sure are taking a long time getting those seeds out...why don't you hurry up a bit?"

And she, not missing a beat, looked up at me with those big, brown eyes and said, "But mom. Slow and steady wins the race." 

Well-played, Aesop. Well-played.

Disclaimer: Hopefully, it is obvious that I am attempting to be humorous. I actually do think reading to your kids is a GOOD idea. Sometimes I write these posts and I get comments from people who try to convince me that reading is good--which, of course, I agree with completely--so, please! Don't try to convince me that reading is good! I'm already convinced.  I promise! :) 


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my 3-year old last week. We had been reading Caps for Sale the week before and had discussed the phrase Monkey See, Monkey Do, and it's tile in the story. Well, she was driving me nuts, every time her younger brother did something and I asked him not to, she would copy him. Eventually, I asked her why she felt it was ok to do things after I told her brother not to, and she just said "it's monkey see, monkey do, mama"!

Jeni said...

Very funny!!! She sounds like a very smart little girl :)

kathi @ purple cows & root beer floats said...

I love it. these smart kids of ours keep us on our toes :)

and, YES!, reading to kids is GOOD. for all of us.

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