I have a good friend who is the mother of three boys, ages ten, twelve, and fourteen. Corralling the ten year old and the twelve year old in order to get them to sit down to read a book is about as fun as trying to get your cat to love bathtime. It just doesn’t seem possible AND it’s an exhausting process. The boys sigh, they roll their eyes, and above all, complain, complain, complain. Their number one complaint? Reading is BORING.
Your son says:
Some other tips include:
- Schedule a time to read. Your son is about to run outside to play with some friends. Now is NOT the time to inform him he needs to sit down and read for twenty minutes. Ask your child what the best time of day to do some reading would be. Right before bed? After lunch? Stick to one time and don’t spring anything upon him last minute!
- Limit television watching. And, to an extent, video-game playing. An article from New Scientist states that “it is also possible that TV viewing may supplant other activities that promote concentration, such as reading, games, sports and play, he says. The lack of participation inherent in TV watching might also condition children when it comes to other activities.” You may have to wean your child off of television, but it will be worth it. He will find greater joy in seemingly mundane tasks, like reading.
- Make sure your child has DAILY physical activity. Exercise improves concentration and stamina. Why? Exercise provides more blood to the brain, which enables the brain to take in more nutrients making you more alert and awake. Exercise also boosts energy, which in turn increases attention span. Read the article“Can Exercise Improve Grades?” from Family-Life magazine. Getting ample exercise is especially important for boys, who have an intrinsic and constant need for movement.
- Don’t ever, ever use reading as punishment. The goal is to teach your child that reading is a fun form of entertainment. Using reading as punishment will negate any previous inroads made.
- Model reading. If you don’t, why should he? Practice “doing what I do, not just what I say.”
Are there any last resorts?
Wondering what books boys love to read? See my suggested summer reading post this coming Monday!