How to B.S. your way through a bedtime story

“Reading a story to your child is one of parenting’s most wonderful blah, blah, blah…whatever.”

Many times I don’t mind reading bedtime stories to my kids, but occasionally I despise it. My kids asking (telling) me to read them a bedtime story feels like one last opportunity for them to boss me around that day. By 8:30 pm the last thing I want to do is read a 5000 word novel, about Barbie’s life-changing enrollment into Princess Charm School. (Yes, it is a real book, and yes, it is terrible.)

The books are just as bad as the TV show and I didn’t think anything could be worse than the TV show.

But, with years of practice at marginal parenting, I’ve come up with a few methods for fake reading to my kids. Before my kids learned to read, some nights fake reading was the only way I made it through bedtime. It’s similar to actually reading to your kids, but includes several shortcuts along the way.

Here are five tips to help you fake read to your own kids…

1. Instead of reading the words, describe the pictures. It is way more fun.


2. Eliminate repetitive phrases. With Dr. Seuss books, this will save you tons of precious time, so you can get your kids in bed and yourself back to Facebooking ASAP.

“Dad, it sure LOOKS like there are a lot more words on the page than you’re actually reading.”

3. Clump pages together as you turn the page. Don’t lie sanctimonious parents, even you’ve done this one before. “No son, page 63 really does come right after page 11.”

“This paper sure is thick.” He says, while turning twenty pages at once.

4. Say “The End” at any point in the story you feel would make a moderately reasonable ending. This method also works if your child’s attention span wanders off to another topic.

“Did he have a mother?” THE END. Maybe baby bird finds his mother, maybe he doesn’t. I guess we’ll never know.


5. Enjoy it while it lasts. There will come a day where each of these tips no longer work. You will be corrected for even the slightest mispronounced word. So, my bedtime book reading friends, take every shortcut you can, while you still can…before it’s too late.

You’re welcome.


Brian "Pete"
Brian "Pete"
Indianapolis Stay-at-Home Dad to three kids, ages nine, six and four. Blogger and monthly print columnist for Indy’s Child, Cincinnati Parent and Dayton Parent magazines. Fifth grade class spelling bee runner-up. Gold Award Winner at the Parenting Media Association Editorial and Design Awards for Best Blog/Blogger.

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