Reading in Bed

reading in bed, reading, child in bed, kid in bed, reading in the dark, bedtime reading, book, books

Here’s how naptime and bedtime work for us:

  1. Parent(s) realize(s) that Shlomo is tired.
  2. One of us checks his diaper (and changes it if it needs changing).
  3. If both parents are present, the parent not checking Shlomo’s diaper finds his pacifier and duck.  If only one parent is present, this step is performed after the diaper check (and change, if necessary).
  4. One of us (the Parent in Charge, or PIC) heads off, with duck, pacifier, and Shlomo, to the bedroom.
  5. PIC holds Shlomo on their lap for a few minutes, singing the dorky songs that I made up when he was born, softly.  If it is bedtime, PIC gives Shlomo to the other parent* for a hug.
  6. PIC then puts Shlomo into his crib, covers him up, and gives him two (usually) of his stuffed snuggle items (one is usually a duck, sometimes both) and a book.  If there is no book already in his crib, PIC asks if he wants one.  The answer is usually yes.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time it wasn’t.  We hand the book to him, give him a kiss, and walk out of the room.  Usually, Shlomo goes to sleep without issue, and even when he doesn’t fall asleep right away, he stays quietly in his crib until he’s tired enough.  Thank G-d.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if I we am are doing the right thing by giving Shlomo a book in bed.  It started out innocently – he didn’t want to be going to bed, and kept asking for another story.  So, we told Shlomo that he could read to himself, and we gave him a book . . . and he was happy.  Then we turned out the lights (it was nighttime), walked out, and closed the door.   We thought he wouldn’t be able to read in the dark, and whether or not he can remains to be seen.  What’s certain, though, is that reading a book in his bed (and yes, we read a story before bed, and often before naps, as well) has become part of the going-to-sleep routine.

I read under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep, for many years.  So did Yitzchak.  Even when I started college, I often had a book under my pillow.  (At some point after we got married, this habit faded.  I don’t remember when or why, but I do remember Yitzchak finding books under my pillow and laughing about it.)  We both freely admit to reading after lights out, and know that our children probably will do the same.  It bothers us somewhat, because kids really do need to sleep, as do adults.  On the other hand, in a world where books are not read enough, falling asleep while reading seems like a pretty good deal.  It ensures that the child in question enjoys reading, immensely.  It ensures that they look forward to reading.  And, as long as you are getting a decent amount of sleep, who cares?  But maybe we should care?  And if so, then we should not be encouraging the habit, especially from such a young age.  Right?

What do you think about reading in bed: Yay or nay?

*For the record: PIC for naptime is almost always me, just because of logistics.  Sometimes, if naptime got pushed off, or a second nap is needed, Yitzchak is PIC.  PIC for bedtime is split, pretty much evenly, between us.  Just for the record.

11 thoughts on “Reading in Bed

  1. Yay. Definitely. I remember hoping my mother wouldn’t think of touching the still-hot lamp bulb when she poked her head in to check if I was asleep. In fifth grade, for a class assignment, we had to invent a product. I wrote about a glow-in-the-dark book that was only visible to kids so reading in bed would be easier 🙂


    • Wow, that’s impressive. I never even thought of my parents touching the lightbulb! (They probably never thought of it, either.) A glow-in-the-dark book (or a series of them) would have been really cool. It still would be – that way I could read in bed without waking anyone else up. 🙂 Want to actually invent it?


  2. First, we also use that term PIC – I thought we were original.
    Secondly, I am a huge advocate of reading. So, I have a problem telling a kid not to read. That being said, I understand that the timing is not always right and it could be a problem. However, it is one problem I do not mind having.


    • I thought I was being original when I made up the term PIC for this post! Aww, man . . . But, I DID make it up, promise. I didn’t copy from you. 😀

      Right, that’s the dilemma we have. Reading is good, reading is to be encouraged. Sometimes you need to sleep, though. Probably, you are being smart by letting that problem slide. How do you manage to get your kids to sleep, though?


      • Not easily! Actually, the younger one is a good sleeper. The older one is more of a challenge. I generally fall asleep while putting them to bed. See, I’m setting an example – I’m good like that.


      • Oh, so you snuggle them to sleep. That’s what my parents did with my siblings for a long time. 🙂 I also did it with them. Yep, going to sleep is a great example for them! I think kids fall asleep when you do because they pick up on the parent’s relaxation. Hm, I wonder what tough years lay ahead of us.


      • At this point, my wife puts the younger one to bed and I put the older one to bed. She is better at limiting the books and getting out of there.
        THe only issue is I have settled into a weird sleep pattern.


      • Hm, maybe you should switch kids for a few nights, it could be that she’ll be able to get your older one used to going to sleep more easily, and then it’ll be easier on you in the long run. I guess, if you’re getting a couple extra hours of sleep each night, it’s not that bad, right?


      • 😀 You mean it doesn’t gain you sleep?! Okay, not worth it!

        (I know how it goes with that bedtime routine – my parents did it, which is one of the reasons I am so scared of anything bearing any resemblance. I have spent hours laying beside siblings who didn’t want to go to sleep, couldn’t go to sleep by themselves, etc. And when they finally fell asleep, it took me ten very careful minutes to inch off the bed in a way that they wouldn’t realize. One mess-up, and I was back on, starting from square one. This went on until the party in question reached age eight or nine.)


  3. Pingback: Ditching the Pacifier – For Good | Little Duckies

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