Kids seem to always do the exact opposite of what you ask them. If you force them to sit down with a book, it’s unlikely they’ll want to do it. However, if you trick them into cultivating an actual love of reading, they’ll end up even doing it behind your back. These parents found the sneakiest hacks to keep their kids on reading and away from screens.
The Flashlight That Never Dies
If they’re at the age where they still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, what’s one more mystical creature that magically always keeps the flashlight from going out?
This isn’t a hard trick to pull off as long as you remember to switch out the batteries often enough.
A Bedside Night Lamp Clip
You could also just not wait for their flashlight to run out, and instead equip them with a proper light before they even have to ask.
This will show them that you’re here to encourage their love of reading and provide them with any material they might need to cultivate it.
Provide Them With The Right Tools
You already know that even if you say no—especially if you do say no—they’re going to do it behind your back.
Make sure that even if they do decide to break the rules that they’re able to do it safely unless you want the house to burn down.
No Bedtime Lights Out
Kids are always in a rush to grow up because they think that this will provide them with the ultimate freedom.
If you give them a taste of higher freedom from a young age, you’d be surprised at how responsibly they might use it.
Tell Them They’re Not Allowed
It’s like kids strive to do the exact opposite of what you ask of them. Use reverse psychology to your advantage by telling them they’re not allowed to do the exact thing you hope they will.
Look away for one second, and their curiosity will over take them enough to read the forbidden book.
Associate Reading With A Reward System
No matter how tired a kid is, they’ll resist bedtime in any way they can just for the sake of staying up longer.
If you offer them the option but with conditions, you’ll be doing both yourself and them a favor as they’ll associate reading with rewards and tire themselves out to sleep.
Make Them Think It’ll Postpone Their Chores
Not even adults like chores. We’ll find whatever way to procrastinate from doing them. In this case, even if they don’t like reading, if they think it’ll take them out of their less fun responsibilities, they’ll agree to do it.
You don’t realize how good something is till you compare it to something else sometimes.
Make Them Think Of It As A Privilege
You don’t realize how good something is sometimes until you lose it. The next time you punish them, tell them they’re not allowed to read.
Knowing that this is a privilege they can lose will teach them to value it when they do get it back.
Encourage Them When They Try To Hide It
Reassure your kids that reading is a good thing and not something they should feel the need to hide, even if it’s not done at the optimal time.
This will encourage them and make them feel like they’re succeeding and accomplished when they do it. They might even do it sometimes just so you’d be proud of them.
Make Them Think You’re Not Aware They’re Already Doing It
Kids often act out of rebellion, and that builds character, so it’s okay. They think they’re being smart by thinking outside the box.
If this is encouraging their creativity and their hobbies, then it may be worth playing along to keep up their ruse.
Don’t Make A Big Deal Out Of It
Let the kids think that reading is natural. The more of a big deal you make it out to be by congratulating them every time, the more of a big deal they’ll attribute to it too.
They might expect special treatment or rewards every time, or only do it when they think you’re aware.
Get Them Gifts
Who doesn’t love gifts? Kids love new and shiny toys and they’ll put them to use one way or another.
If you keep reading new and exciting by gifting them with new reading tools or new books, they’ll be swept by the excitement of it enough to use it.
Make It A Group Activity
Find a book that you think might be of interest to them, and read it along with them.
If you can break through the first few pages, you’ll get them invested enough in the story for them not to be able to resist knowing what happens next in the story.
Make It Something You Can Bond Over
Reading is that much better when it’s shared. Even though she wasn’t reading directly with her dad, you can tell how excited she was to be able to discuss its contents with him every chance she could.
You could start with popular stories, or by showing them a movie adaptation after they’ve read the story.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Leaving them little surprises without ever actually saying anything will work wonders. Words often don’t have as much impact on children as actions.
Awaiting these surprises not only will put a smile on their face every time but give them something they want to work towards.
Get Them To Read To Each Other
If you have more than one kid, you can have the older one influence the younger one by reading to them. This has many benefits.
It’ll give the older sibling a feeling of responsibility and authority. And it’ll give you some time to rest while the kids keep each other occupied.
Still, Be Careful What Books They Get Their Hands-on
Just because you want your kids to read doesn’t mean that they should be reading everything and anything. Younger kids are easily impressionable.
Frightening stories and heavy books can have real side effects on their psyche and cause irrational fears. Make sure to keep such material out of their reach.
Have A Good Laugh About It
It’s quite funny the lengths to which kids will go trying to be sneaky when in reality they’re hiding things in plain sight.
In instances like this, rather than give them trouble, it may be better to simply laugh about it and pretend you don’t see anything.
Find A Book They Like
The key really is to find material they’ll enjoy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an educational book.
Often, the purpose is to enrich their imagination and they’ll be able to pick up vocabulary along the way.
It’s Okay To Still Set Boundaries
Don’t feel like you have to bend the rules you worked hard to set in place just to get them to read. You still need to set some boundaries and keep balance.
So even if you let them stay up past their bedtime, make sure they’re still asleep by a certain time unless you want a very cranky unrested child the next day.
Turn It Into A Game
If there’s one thing kids are born good at, it’s games. You can pretty much turn any chore or task into a game and they’re likely to fall for it.
You can do the same by turning reading into a library game. You can role-play and have the kid pretend to be the parent and read to you.
Give Them Subtle Signals When It’s Time To Put It Away
Kids often have a hard time listening to direct orders. They will often respond to signals and hints more positively if they know what they indicate.
Before charging in to give them trouble for being up too late, signal to them to stop themselves first.
Find Ways To Keep Them Accountable
You give a kid an ounce of freedom, and they’re likely to try to push the boundary as far as possible to see how much they can get away with.
This is why it’s important to still hold them accountable. Unfortunately, that can come at the expense of your own beauty sleep.
Make Sure You’re Still Getting Your Reading In Too!
Your kids will look up to you. Lead by example by picking up your own set of books sometimes, and not just theirs.
You can even have “reading” time together where you each read (or look at the pictures) your respective books. It’ll be good for your soul too.
Make It A Part Of Their Nightly Routine
Not only will they expect it and look forward to it every night, but it eventually will tire them out.
Make sure they get out plenty of energy and are dressed in their warm PJs with their teeth brushed so they can go straight to bed after.
Be Patient With It
If you want them to get started at a young age, you’re going to need a heavy dose of patience. It’ll be hard to get all their attention at once, but once you capture it, their interest and curiosity will take over.
Eventually, they’ll learn to just listen while you read until they’re old enough to read themselves.
Include A Wide Variety Of Books
The more options for books you have, the better. A kid will either latch on to one book as their favorite and only read it, or they will easily get bored of the same books over and over.
Variety and new books keep the experience new and exciting and keep you as the reader from going insane from repeating the same story.
Indulge In Their Little Requests
Don’t expect this to be an easy journey. Like with every new discipline you’re teaching them, you’ll have to indulge their odd requests and put your dignity aside.
At least they deemed reading time interesting and cool enough for their whole crew to be involved.
You’ll Be Amazed At The Speed Of Their Learning
Just be prepared because the more they read, the more they’ll learn, and they may be able to use all this knowledge against you.
Even though you’ll secretly be proud, it’ll take parenting to a whole new level for you.
A Break Is Okay For Everyone
As important as it is to get your kids to read, it’s also okay to take a break from it every once in a while.
Especially when the kids are still too young to read themselves, you can only put yourself through the same book so many times.