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I feel bad for saying this, but I really don't like
reading to my preschooler before bed. I wish it was a pleasant experience, but
instead it's nothing but haggling and trying to stall. She picks the longest
books possible (not because she likes them, just because they're long), always
asks for one more. She even asks me to re-read a book because I didn't get it right the
OK, let's change up this before-bed dynamic and make it
more enjoyable for you—and more contained and clear for your daughter. The emotional tone of the bedtime routine is so important, because the routine is the bridge between being with you and being alone for the night. Let's help you both enjoy this time instead of dreading it—it will make it easier for her to say goodnight and see you in the morning.
First, let's start with the book selection. There are certain
books we as parents just don't enjoy, that our kids have outgrown or we've
read a zillion times. My recommendation is to pare down the books in her room
to just the best ones—the ones you love. In my opinion, a smaller selection of
really sweet, good stories is better than piles of books just for the sake of
having them. Take out all the books and sort them when she's not around, donate
the ones you don't truly enjoy and maybe store a small selection to bring out
later. Quality over quantity—you can keep adding books to your collection as you
find ones that you and she really love.
Leave enough time in the routine so that reading isn't rushed; she
might be able to feel your desire to get it over with. Skip bath or go straight
from dinner into the bath, so you have more time to read.
Preschoolers are so good at making every step between the bath and lights-out tricky and prolonged, so try to put parameters on it. You can say, "You pick
one book, I pick one book." Or you can tell her clearly that you'll just be reading a certain book one
time. In other words, explain up front what the plan is, so there's nothing to