It seems that reading, especially to children, is seen as the prerogative of women. I don’t know whether I was shocked, horrified, angry or sad to find out that only 1 in 8 of us fathers bother to read to our kids. This, in the news again last week!
It is a privilege to read to children. It is a great way to bond with them, to share a joke, discuss the merits of the tale, the motives of the protagonists or the quality of the illustrations. Bedtime is a perfect occasion – but not the only one – to read something for your children. What better way to end the day than with a few minutes of fiction?
I had a bedtime story read to me almost every when I was young. We weren’t rich or posh, we weren’t middle class. It was just something that happened. I did the same for my daughter. The only time she didn’t get a chapter or two of a story was if she had been ‘naughty’ and then she was only allowed a very short story or a poem or two. The idea being that a point was made but she was still read to.
Some fathers feel embarrassed, some lack confidence, some really struggle with reading themselves. This is something that should be remedied long before boys become fathers – i.e. in schools, or at home; especially if these teenage boys have younger siblings. Most books for little children aren’t too difficult though, and a quick read through while they’re not around can help.
‘Booktrusts’ attempts to ‘getdadsreading’ has been going for some time. Freddie, so called, Flintoff launched a campaign to get dads reading back in Sept 2011. http://tinyurl.com/a54abf4 ‘Now there’s a bloke’, you might say. Freddie Flintoff: hard man, bit of a boozer, wild, cricketing great, even a sometime boxer. If he can do it etc.
Some dad’s might have been be put off by the Duchess of, so called, Cornwall and her puppets campaigning for the same concern http://tinyurl.com/a4pttyp Nonetheless…
Men, if you haven’t done it, try it. And if you can make it a routine, you’ll be surprised what it does for your credibility, respect and feeling of self worth. You might also find it helps you to relax too. There were several times when I’d be woken with a nudge, “dad, you’re snoring,”
“No, no,” I’d lie, “that was the sound the dragon made…”
It wasn’t a complete lie. It was just another tall tale.