Reluctant Reader: NOT! Does My Child Read Too Much?
So you shake your head at all this Reluctant Reader talk and wildly wave your hand in the air. “Can my child read too much?” you ask, then duck your head against the glares shot your direction. You are not showing off. Your concern is real. Can my child read too much?
All he wants to do is read.
You’ve heard the arguments that children need to be outside and exercise but you have a bonafide couch potato on your hands. It’s exciting that he loves to read. You see his mind growing with the type of books he is devouring and you love the discussions that develop spontaneously, but is he reading too much? You kick him out the door and say, “The sun is shining, go outside.” He goes, taking his current favorite book to the tree house or the backyard swing. Is he missing out by reading about life instead of experiencing it?
Maybe. Let’s look at two possible reasons why your child is reading too much.
Some children read too much to replace their need for friends.
They have no friends to drag them away, nothing else to distract them. While you are busier than a honey bee in fall, your child isn’t. His school work takes only a few hours each day, and he doesn’t have enough to do. For you, an unclaimed hour is a gift from God, but not for your child. There may be plenty of things he could do, but cleaning his room or helping bake cookies isn’t interesting. The best antidote for a child who won’t put down his book is an active friend. All of us need people to interact with, and the homeschooling mom may be content having her children as her best friends, but children need peers. If they don’t have real-life friends, then they may substitute with make-believe ones. They may grow to prefer make-believe to real life. Here are a few suggestions you might try to overcome this challenge:
- Make friends with a family who has children in your child’s age group. Get together often enough for the children to connect.
- Start a book club and invite children your child’s age.
- Join a co-op and attend functions with the group. This won’t work if you are only getting together once a month. Your child needs time to connect.
Some children read too much because they don’t enjoy physical activity.
You already know that not all children are gifted athletes, but some children aren’t just not gifted, they are awkward. Their bodies don’t move as freely as other’s do and running, jumping, skipping are not fun for them. They aren’t lazy. They aren’t depressed. They avoid physical activity in the same way that some people avoid sitting still.
But as the parent you have an obligation to help your child find balance. It isn’t healthy for him to stay inside all day; it isn’t healthy not to move. Here are a few suggestions to help overcome this challenge:
- Schedule daily walks or bike rides as a family.
- Get him a dog that needs exercise. Since it is his dog, exercising it is his responsibility.
- Show your enjoyment for being outside and for moving. Signing this child up for soccer is probably not going to work, but there are a lot of reasons for being outside that don’t involve sports. Find the one your child most enjoys and make time for it.
Gracious Father, We bow before you as our Creator. You know our inmost being and that of our children. We pray for wisdom in helping our children grow physically strong. Open our hearts to see our children as You see them, and guide us as we guide them. We come to you because of Jesus.