Read it again, Dad! You follow these words with an eye roll or exclamatory sigh. If you feel particularly defeated you say: “can’t we read a different book,” but you already know the answer. It is inevitable, a right of passage, every child goes through the phase of wanting the same book read incessantly. How do you manage it?
Three strategies to use with kids when you need to conquer reading the same book repeatedly are:
- Prep ahead
- Offer choices
- Set limits
As tiresome as reading the same book is, it is good for kids. Reading a story over and over helps in their development and in particular learning new words. So, before you roll your eyes, you may want to consider reading it again. However, if your sanity is called into question after the tenth rendition of “Green Eggs and Ham,” or a week long bedtime story of “Where the Wild Things Are,” then, by all means, follow these guidelines.
Start By Setting The Rules
Before beginning a book, tell them you are only going to read this to them once, or that once you finish they need to pick a different book.” Say this often enough and they will get the message.
At bedtime, establish how many stories they get. In our house, the rule is: each child gets to choose one book and one Bible story. After that move on to the next part of the bedtime routine.
Give Your Child Another Choice
There are so many good books to choose from, but they always return to the same one. Maybe they are not aware of some of the other great books available. Ask them to choose from two books and include their favorite. Be brave and sell all the great points of the other one. They might not know this other book has dinosaurs or the other book is real funny. If they still choose the same book, oh well, least you tried.
Let Them Know The Limits
Oh, no! you started reading and forgot to warn them you were only going to read it once. Do not worry, it is not too late. Either stop where you are and give them a gentle reminder that you are reading this book once or upon finishing and they ask for it again, set a limit.
Additional Suggestions To Break Up the Monotony
- Ask them to read it to you, have them read certain words or every other page
- Talk about some of the lessons learned or ask what they think is happening
- Have them act it out
- Read it backward (my daughter thinks it is hilarious!)
- Take them to the bookstore or library and have them choose some new books
Whatever your decision, do not hide the book. We tried that once and were caught by our one-year-old; some smooth talking followed.
Remember that reading the same book repeatedly is beneficial for kids, but the next time you are ready to pull out your hair before reading “Are You A Cow” again, set limits and offer them a choice. I hear “Goodnight Moon” never gets old.