It’s never too late to introduce books

I killed two birds with one stone by introducing bedtime stories

In Summary

• It was hard to get my child to read books or sleep, but I realised it was all about timing

A child is helped by the mum to read a book
A child is helped by the mum to read a book

I have always bought books for my son. Long before he was born, I started researching and buying books that were good for the baby's development. The black-and-white books, the colour-block books, floating books, textured books and so on.

As he grew, I tried to buy fun books that were more appropriate for his developmental stage. The ABC books, pop-up books, musical books and flash cards for memory learning. Most of the books (especially the pop-up ones) were in tatters in a matter of days. I had to control the flash cards so that they did not meet the same fate.

While some of the learning materials proved effective, buying books became a heartache as my curiously energetic kid would handle them like the Hulk would handle a flower. At some point, my dreams of introducing reading and advancing my child's cognitive abilities lay in tatters, just like the books.

My child has also never been one to fall asleep on his own. It would always take us hours of singing, lulling, patting and carrying on the back to get him to fall asleep. It was such a hard thing getting him to fall asleep, and tiring, to say the least. More often than not, we would be sleepy just by trying to get him to sleep! I was at my wits' end.

A few weeks ago, my son turned two and a half, and I knew I needed to put an end to the madness. So I introduced books again. Every night before we go to bed, we say our prayers and lie down to read the books. For the first few nights, it would take almost an hour to get him to sleep, but I also realised he was curious and enjoyed reading time.

Once he was done perusing the books and naming things he knew, I would read the books in a droning tone to lull him. By the end of the first week, I was already buying new goodnight story books.

Now bedtime is a simple routine of getting to bed, perusing the books before cuddling with me to read together. In a matter of minutes, the young man is fast asleep. I'm still astounded at how we managed to knock out these two birds with one stone. On one hand, I introduced a new interest in books, while on the other, I managed to get him to fall asleep without a lot of trouble.

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