We’ve all been there. Your child goes to pick out a book for you to read aloud, and you cringe. Not that one again, you think. You’re sure you’ve already read it 97 times.
Why do kids want the same books over and over? Is it meant to drive you crazy? It sure feels like it some days. When you have lots of books, and your child wants the same one over and over, there’s a reason. And, fortunately — a solution.
First, you need to know that repeated read-alouds are good for kids. They learn more with each reading, especially if you’re talking about the story with them. Not that knowing that makes you feel any less crazy when you have all your child’s books memorized.
Questions About the Story
One of the biggest reasons preschoolers ask for repeat read aloud is that there’s something they don’t get about it. So the story captivates them, yet also confuses them just a little. You can use this information to your advantage when you’re tired of reading something day in and day out. Just ask,
“What is it that’s hard to understand about this book?”
You’d be amazed at the answers. Often, you’ll find that they’re hung up on one small detail that you hadn’t even noticed. Or perhaps a major concept that you’d taken for granted. Explain it to their satisfaction, and they’ll be ready to move on to the next book.
Comfort & Routine
Sometimes children, particularly toddlers, like the same book over and over because it’s part of their routine.
If they love Brown Bear, Brown Bear at bedtime, but you feel like you’ll scream if you read it again, try introducing a second book along with it. Once that becomes familiar, but before you’re tired of it too, try dropping the first book and replacing it with a third.
Another Sanity-Saving Read Aloud Tactic
Sometimes, though, you’ve answered their questions. Routine doesn’t seem to be the issue. Yet, they’re still asking you to read Dr. Seuss six times a day.
No, you don’t like green eggs and ham — at least not that often.
It’s perfectly okay to tell your child that you’re tired of that book. Books are personal. We all have preferences. Sometimes we read something we don’t like, such as for a class or for work. But, reading for pleasure, we read what we like. And you might as well teach your child that.
No one should judge you if, once in a while, you say something like,
“I’m getting tired of that book. Will you go choose another one please?”
If All Else Fails
If all else fails, there’s always putting dreaded titles at the back of the stack… or under the couch. Provide lots of other enticing choices, and your child will eventually move on. I promise, you won’t be reading The Cat in The Hat to them when they’re twelve.
I hope these tips save your sanity when your child wants you to read the same books over and over.