Bedtime Reading Ritual

Day Two of the Book Blogger Challenge: What is your bedtime reading ritual?

My kids go to bed at 7:30 p.m. After I’ve tucked them in, I go sit on the couch with my book. Most nights my husband and I read for an hour and then watch a 40 minute show on Netflix. We seem to keep finishing a TV show we like and then have to wait a year for the next season to come out on DVD. Or we watch it to its end. Right now we switch between watching re-runs of Supernatural since we’ve watched all the ones that are out on DVD, Fringe, White Collar and Arrested Development. About 3 or 4 nights a week, Mike and I forgo the TV show and read until 9:30 when we hit the hay. If I’m reading a page-turner, I forgo all TV, even when my husband is watching it, and I usually go to bed later.

For my kids’ reading ritual, I usually spend about 20-30 minutes sitting on either the couch or the floor with them and their pile of library books. We hit the library once a week so the kids can return their week-old books and get new ones. I end up reading all of the books, anywhere from 6 to 8, every time we sit down. Sometimes I have to cut it short of the whole pile. Especially now that my daughter has discovered chapter books. I can’t read an entire chapter book in one sitting unless its the only book in the pile! The kids’ favorite chapter book series right now is the Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo.

Mercy Watson

Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes

I used to read to them before bed, but we’ve had to cut reading from our bedtime ritual. 30 minutes of reading when the kids are whiny and tired and interrupting me and asking for water, a kiss, to be tucked in again… it makes me crazy. We read during the day. And then Mike reads with them again in the evening.

I’ve read that reading before bed is good for people who need to wind down. I’m one of those people, but reading doesn’t always wind me down. Sometimes, when I’m so invested in a book that I can’t put it down, I lay in bed thinking about it. Probably explains why I dream about books! And now that I’m writing my own fiction, there are many nights I lay awake thinking about my characters and where they might go.

Have you ever dreamed about characters from a book?

4 thoughts on “Bedtime Reading Ritual

  1. We are in the process of developing a ritual for our youngest (8 months), but he gets physical therapy, a bath and a massage, and I read a picture book to him while he has his last bottle, then song, kisses and good night.

    I’ve been reading to him since the first week (not sure how much of Tom Sawyer he got at 2 weeks old, but I had a blast).

    Can’t wait to see your readers responses!!


    • I’ve found that our bedtime ritual has changed as the kids have gotten older. I would read to them before bed when they were younger, but its more of a hassle now with all the stalling tactics they use to get out of going to bed! I want our reading together to be relaxing and fun, so I need to do it when I’m feeling relaxed. Bedtime just isn’t that time! I love that you read Tom Sawyer to your son! Mark Twain is a favorite author of mine.

  2. My dreams are fairly standard night after night–a variation of the same two or three settings and the same ten main “characters” from what I can remember–but they’re definitely influenced by the book I’m reading or a show or movie I’ve seen; the events, the things we’re doing, they’re things I’ve been thinking about.
    We read to the baby every night–always including Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton (my mom called me Pookie as a child and I found the “Pookie” series just after she died, before Simone’s first birthday. Totally sentimental to me. I only read two or three books but Dad always gets suckered into reading 7 or 8. It’s cute. The other girls are old enough to want to read by themselves at night. They like me to lay with them while they read. I read for myself whenever I can fit it in.. when I read at night I tend to stay up too late.
    BTW Mercy Watson were mine and Piper’s special read-together books all last year.

    • I think we have the entire Sandra Boynton collection of board books in this house somewhere. And my dad called me Pookie! It was so embarrassing since he continued to call me that until I moved out at 18. He picked me up from taking my SATs one morning and called out “Pookie!” to me in the parking lot. Talk about dying of mortification!

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