How I got my sons to start loving reading again?

By Madhurie Singh, January 23, 2017

reading books

Restart reading should be the right line. My sons used to read so much that they had finished all books of their age group available at the Justbooks, Viman Nagar branch at Pune.

Then my husband started buying toys that were too temping and addictive for them! How hated this act of my husband, of undoing one year’s hard work in a just a few weeks.

But, I know the value of reading books and was not going to give up on either my sons or their reading habit so easily.

I started buying a series of books that they wanted to read. Silly titles books like “Captain Underpants…”

Then I bought sets of books like a set of Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant for older son and a set of Harry Potter for the younger son. They just would not touch them for months!

The culprit was the mobile games. I know the addiction of fast games in comparison to slow book reading! No adrenaline rush, no dopamine of instant rewards in reading books, while a feeling of constant high with mobile games. Incomparable. My constant fight and fret was pushing me away from my sons.

I did not want to take away their new friend (and important) and alienate myself from my teenage sons. I knew on their own they will never want to leave the mobile games! And damn the peer pressure.

So, I started with a routine, rather a regime of three activities that they had to complete in order to lay hands on their gadgets. At night their mobile phones are taken away.

Each morning they have to watch their Byjus videos in the bathroom while doing their business.

After school and lunch at home, one hour of story book is compulsory. Then 5 math problem from their current class work is mandatory. If Math is already done, then they need to finish 10 grammar topics in Hindi or English that have to be memorized. Once they were done with these three activities, they were free to use the mobile games. In the entire routine, they also had to attend their sports coaching classes alternate days!

It’s been a few months only. Yesterday, my older son came and told me something fabulous! “Mom, thank you for forcing me to read this book. I did not like it initially but now I love it and can’t wait to start reading the next book!”  I asked him if he wanted to watch the movie of the book he has finished reading. I was expecting a quick yes, but, again he surprised me pleasantly. He said, “No mom. This book is so good that I do not want the movie to ruin the experience. In fact, I do not wish to watch movies of this trilogy ever!” My younger son also added how he has started getting top marks in Math because of the practice at home!

So the moral of the story is that if you are sure of good habits that need to be inculcated, do not fear to implement them sternly. A few months of being villain will make a hero out of your child!

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