I’m pretty active in the lives of my kids.
(Interpretation: I like to be in the know. On everything.)
I want to know who their friends are, what they talk about, what they play and where they are at all times. The leash? It is short.
It’s my job.
And I’m very good at it.
But as they get older, I’m learning that this is impossible! So, instead of being overbearing, my hubby and I are trying to build character that will help them make good decisions, when we aren’t around.
And that’s why I let my son put his mind in the gutter.
Let me explain: My first grade son has struggled with reading. Sure, he has the basics down, but he doesn’t like to read. (Which nearly disqualifies him from being my son, but I decided to give him some time).
I know he’s young, but I was sincerely concerned because reading is so important in our family and in life.
On one of my thrift store trips, as I flipped thru the used books, I discovered a chapter book for boys. The word poop was in the title. It looked like a ridiculous book, the kind I said in a pious voice, “my kids would never read.”
I bought it.
I handed it to my son and his face lit up. Just by the silly cover, he could sense the absurdity of the book and he was enticed.
Can I just say that he read the entire book in one Saturday? Over 100 pages. I could hear his laughter throughout the house.
I could hear his love of reading ignite.
Now, I’m not proud that I bought him two more poopy chapter books from the same author (one was in his Easter basket. I know. We are terrible).
He devoured them.
He’s now moved on to Magic Tree House books and The Hardy Boys!
But his love for reading was sparked with a book about underpants and diaper heads.
(Just for the record, we did sit down and talk with him about appropriateness. He giggled the entire time. But at least he didn’t toot).
Here’s what I learned:
- Let your child read something that interests them (within reason)
- Be flexible. What interests them may be joke books, or worse, books that talk about a superhero with a diaper on his head.
- Monitor what your child reads. Just because it’s in the kid’s section, doesn’t mean you’ll approve of it.
- Offer a variety of books. Once my son giggled over those poopy books, he moved on to some great books!
- Create a fun reading spot in your house and make it a priority in your home.
- Read to your kids. They are never to young or too old!
While I’m glad my son is now enthralled with his Children’s Bible, I don’t regret letting him read something I’d usually be opposed to.
He sums it up best, “Mom, do you know why I love reading now? It takes me places I’ve never been!”
And I love that!
Even if one of those places was the gutter.
This post is dedicated to my son’s first grade teacher, who loves reading as much as I do. Thank you, Mrs. Bruno. And to Dave Pilkey, author of those books. Thanks for writing about poop.
How do you encourage reading in your house? Got any great ideas for the summer? What do your kids love to read?