Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lap Wars During Reading Time?

The Question:


I'm curious if you have any ideas for dealing the lap wars that ensue whenever I try and read a book these days.  My kids are 3.5 and 18 mo.  I've tried giving them each a turn (even changing who is sitting on my lap after each book), but the 18 mo. just cries and cries and tries to wiggle his way back on when it isn't his turn to sit on my lap, and of course, the 3.5 wants the attention too.  I really want reading to be a positive experience for both of them.  Any suggestions?



The Answer: 

Dear Brittany,

I know I quote my mother far too often on this blog--but sometimes I can just hear her little chuckle when I read your questions and I can also hear her answer.  She used to say, "Is there anything better than holding your baby while another child is clamoring to get on?"

 It sounds like that "enjoyable" moment has lost some of its charm.  Here's what I'd do.   I would tell my oldest child that the younger one gets to sit on my lap because he is the baby.  "But I need you to sit right beside me and turn the pages...because you're the oldest ."    Then just stick to it.  They'll accept your routine if you are firm.  If it really turns into an all out war, say, "Oh dear, I guess we'll have to read later."  Just make a big deal about that older child's responsibility to turn the pages.  And keep them cuddled close and remember that the oldest one just wants to feel important to you.



  1. I also have this problem. Only worse because no matter how I situate my boys, someone ends up on the outside (not right by me) and no one likes to be the one on the outside. The fighting and crying that always took place made me want to give up reading to them! Now I try to find times while one is napping, or where a few are in the middle of doing something else. Then I'll invite a child or two (or three) to pick a book. I think having a general rule that the youngest gets the lap space is easy for children to understand. They are smaller and don't squish you so much, they can't sit up as well, they aren't as tall so they need to be closer to see the pages...My older boys never question it anymore. Maybe have a special reading time for just your older one while the baby naps. Good luck!

  2. I do a similar thing, but I also read short books first, then the baby gets down and I read longer books to the older kids.


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