Finding Solutions Together

Each night, we begin the kids’ bedtime routine by reading. Each kid picks a book or gets a chapter read from a larger book. My husband adds his own entertainment to reading time by trying to sneak extra crazy details or sentences to the story and waiting to see if the kids notice. You should hear some of the silly things those Boxcar Children do when Jeff is busy reading the story.

When he first began this approach, the kids were very frustrated.  Angry shouts of “Daddy – read it right!” could be heard from the living room.  As a problem solving parent who hates conflict, I felt that Jeff should just give in to the kids opinions and read the story as written.  However, Jeff felt that this could be a fun addition to story time and persevered.  The children kept complaining. Jeff kept persevering. I kept leaving the room because I hated the conflict.

One night, Jeff had a revelation of compromise. He would ask the child whose story was being read how many “mistakes” he could make while reading. The child could answer none, or 4 or 14 and Jeff would then proceed with their chapter.  Shouts of “Daddy!” can still be heard from the living room, but it is now the sound of “Daddy – we caught you!” or “Daddy – that was a funny one!”, instead of “Daddy – you’re doing it wrong!”

This event was a learning moment for all of us.  For the kids, they learned that just because something is new or different, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily bad.  For Jeff, he learned that even when he has a fun idea, it might need some tweaks or minor changes to make it really work well for everyone.  I learned that it’s important to let the kids and Dad work it out for themselves.

Story time at our house now has a much different flair on the nights that Daddy is doing the reading. And that is great!

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