I love our family’s evening routine. We sit down to dinner together, discuss the events of our days or important world and local events, the kids get showers, and then one of us reads whatever family book we’re working on out loud to the others.
Stop rolling your eyes. There really was a time, years ago, when we did pull this off most every night.
These days, with both kids in sports and church choir and 4H and various other activities, we’re lucky if we manage it one or two nights a week. Or at all.
The family book is the first thing to go when our lives get chaotic.
I don’t like it one bit. I can actually notice a difference in the way our family operates when our evening routine gets thrown off. The kids seem less comfortable in their own skins. We have more arguing and less giggling. It’s not great. Add those issues to the loss of the academic benefits of reading to the kids and it just seems ridiculous that we’ve neglected it at all.
So I’ve decided to take back family book time as part of our bedtime routine. And I could use some suggestions.
We’re about halfway through “Swiss Family Robinson” right now, and we’re going to need a new book pretty soon.
We started years ago with the Little House on the Prairie series, made it through all seven Harry Potters, most of Narnia, and have covered many of our favorites from when we were kids.
I had forgotten the emotional power of “Where the Red Fern Grows,” and the kids were surprised that Matty and I cried through the ending with them. When we read “Hatchet,” my kids were continuously making suggestions about what the main character could do to survive. We’ve been through the wacky mysteries I loved as a kid like “The Westing Game” and “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” We love animal based books like “White Fang” and the simpler and goofier Mercy Watson series, which we have our kids read to us.
I would recommend any of these titles for you, and I know there is more good stuff out there. After years of this, though, I’m running out of ideas. What have you read, and loved, with your kids?