Overcoming Book Rut

{Disclosure: We are thrilled to partner with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to share helpful information about early childhood development for children ages zero to three. A host of additional early childhood resources are available on the Children’s website.}


Nope. I actually can’t read you Good Night Moon one more time. I just can’t. Why? Well for starters, that poor baby rabbit is living in unsanitary conditions with that mouse running all over. But that’s what ya get when you leave bowls of mush around–vermin and probably rabies. Both don’t make good bedtime stories. So you want Goodnight Gorilla instead? The book where an exhausted Mommy has to ad lib 90% of the story after a crazy day? Ugh.

Overcoming Book Rut | Twin Cities Moms Blog

It happens to every parent. Your precious child, with those big, sweet, innocent eyes waddles over and brings you a book and begs you to read it over and over and over again. And, of course, you do! They’re an adorable tiny human who just wants to read books–is there anything more precious?! Put that scenario on repeat for a few months (or weeks for some of us) and now Mommy and Daddy have every book in the house memorized, analyzed, and antagonized. FOR. THE. LOVE. No more Sandra Boyton!

Book Rut. It’s a thing.

Of course, we value reading to our kids, hence why we can recite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom perfectly, but get a little flustered when asked what our kids’ birthdays are. Reading 20 minutes a day to our kids is foundational to their development, especially in light of the word gap – the difference of 30 million words that kids (0-3 years) are exposed to in high income families vs. low income families. Children exposed to more words before 3-years-old do better in school. So I know I should read Brown Bear Brown Bear for the 1,339th time, but I can’t. Because it was nighttime. And dark. And Brown Bear saw nothing and went to bed. The end!

Overcoming Book Rut | Twin Cities Moms Blog

If you (or your kids) do suffer from Book Rut and those 20 minutes a day seem like 20 hours because your kid chose the book that’s just pictures of dinosaurs and you’re suppose to pronounce all their names (Micropachycephalosaurus “Micro-, micropa-, micropachy-, this dinosaur’s name is Mike!”), these tips can help get you out of that funk. And if that book disappears never to be seen again, we won’t tell!

  • Have Variety! The library is an obvious choice. Make regular trips part of your routine, just like trips to the grocery store. I stock up on “new” books at garage sales in the summer months for about $.25/book. For a little more (about $1/book), check out Goodwill, Savers and Unique. You can use this map to see if there are any Little Free Libraries near you (or build your own!). You could also host a book swap among friends too.

Overcoming Book Rut | Twin Cities Moms Blog

  • Get Motivated! Most libraries have summer reading programs, even for young kids! Both my 4-year-old and 2-year-old are participating this summer. Once we read a certain amount of time, they get a prize and eventually entered into a drawing for a grand prize! It’s been great motivation for my oldest, and good accountability for me.
  • Be Lazy! Let someone else do the reading! If you need a break, check out story time at your local library and let someone else read to your munchkins. They have story times for all ages and some are very interactive too. In the summer, we LOVE the Puppet Show, which in our area is a silly, shortened version of classic fairy tales. Both have times that accommodate working moms too!

Overcoming Book Rut | Twin Cities Moms Blog

  • Listen up! Get yourself some audiobooks from your library or audible.com or podcasts. Just get some and thank me later! Our car rides have gone from chatty to silent as both my kids listen intently to someone else read to them! There are short books like The Gruffalo and even movies like Frozen and Finding Dory that your kids can listen to.
  • Stay Still! If the books aren’t the problem and wiggly kids are, try reading during times where your kids are immobilized, like during the bath or during snacks and meal times.
  • Be Chatty! Remember it’s not just reading that’s important, but general exposure to words and language. So chat it up, Mama! When my kids were babies, I used to narrate my day and activities to them. It felt weird and silly at first, but eventually it becomes habit, and then it really gets weird and silly because you’re at Target explaining how to tell if a cucumber is good to a sleeping 3-month-old, or you’ve got a song you sing about making macaroni and cheese. #TheThingsWeDoForOurKids

We all know Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN to be an incredible leader in healthcare, but they also have a wealth of resources to help you guide your child into the potential they already hold within them. You ARE your child’s greatest tool in learning and this month, we’re sharing a number of experiences from our team alongside the incredible amount of resources offered by Children’s. Find more information on the Children’s website.

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