Written by Doctor G

Child Reading WAY After Bedtime

What do you do when your child stays up way past his bedtime…reading? (I know, seriously?!?)

Dana, in PA

Aw, come on! Reading? Not texting or on the computer or sneaking out of the house? No, I get it. I have one like that. Before we left on a big trip he couldn’t find his reading glasses. My husband found them – under his blanket next to a book and flashlight.
I think you have several choices, depending on your son’s personality and your frustration level.

A.    Let him suffer the natural consequences of his actions. Point out, when he is irritable or tired or getting in trouble at school, that this is a direct result of his choice to stay up late. Don’t let him off the hook about homework or chores or good behavior due to fatigue. See if he can modify his own behavior as he learns.

B.    Give him clear but mom-made consequences. Every time you read after lights out your bedtime will be half an hour earlier the next night. If you can go 3 days without an infraction we will move it a half hour back towards the regular time.

C.    Take away temptation. Check on him at irregular but frequent intervals after bedtime. Confiscate all the flashlights. Lock all books up with the guns, or in your lingerie drawer. Effective, but he won’t learn as much from this.

D.    Make his bedtime a little earlier, take a book of your own into his room or bed and hang out for some side-by-side reading time. If he likes this, make it conditional upon keeping the book down after lights out.

Lastly, be grateful for your reader – they go far.

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3 thoughts on “Child Reading WAY After Bedtime”

  1. oh, we’ve had this issue. I tried all but C – no guns… or lingerie ;). Natural consequences don’t work so well when the kid doesn’t mind falling asleep in class (another story).

    The threat of moving bedtime back worked, as counter-intuitive as it sounds given that he could just keep staying up past the authorized time. Just the THOUGHT of going to bed earlier was a good reason to observe the rules.

  2. Thanks. Sometimes it’s good to know we’re not alone. I’m sure I was the same way. Natural consequences are going to have to kick in soon, though.

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