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reading at the dinner table - Page 2

post #21 of 29
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
I do it... and I can remember my mother gently tolerating it when I was a kid. (Actually I can remember her doing it too. I remember me and my mom and my brother all eating together and reading our books, and occasionally looking up to share what we were reading about.) DH and I have always read at the table, too. I only have one out of my three (DD1-- she's 5) who can read independently, and I let her read at the table if she wants to.

I come from a long line of bibliophiles, and it's just what works for us. To me, there are WAY bigger fish to fry, and I'm not willing to give it up myself, so I can't prohibit my kids from doing it.

Our rules are:
1. We don't read at the table when there's a guest.

2. If a person is so absorbed in their book that they don't notice when they've been spoken to, and don't look up to answer, then that book is probably too absorbing for the table, and should be put away. I give one chance on this one, and if you're rude a second time, I ask you to either put the book away, or go in the kitchen and sit there and eat with your book.

Reading while walking I would allow unless there was a clear and present danger to the child's life. Heck, I used to prop a book on top of the double stroller, and put the twins in there, and push them up and down the street while they napped and I read and read and read.
This is very similar to my household. We do read at the table some of the time. We are unschoolers and dp works very long hours at certain times of the year for months at a time. There is no shortage of interaction around here. In fact, lunch is often a kind of quiet oasis when we all enjoy some peace with a book.

Maybe we are this way because I have a tendency to read at the table when there is no reason not to. No one really seems to have a problem putting the books away for whole family meals or guests, so I don't worry about it.

At least I don't have to worry about anyone reading and driving. Both of my girls get motion sick and throw up if they read in the car.
post #22 of 29
We try to have no reading at the table. I'd call it a rule, but it doesn't always get enforced. Generally, if I make dinner and we eat together as a family, it's expected that we are not reading at the table. We call DD a reading machine. DH reads all the time too (unless he's playing computer games) so it's something that kind of applies to them both.

Once in awhile we all might be in the mood to read or watch TV. Then it's not a big deal. But if it's family dinner/time, then no reading.

We also try to keep DD from reading during bedtime snack because she eats so slowly when she is absorbed in a book. (She is almost 7.) But even if she puts down a book, she'll pick it right back up again as soon as we're not looking, or put a book on the chair or something to read it - or any other book that is handy. We even have family reading time in bed together so I am not sure why it's so hard for her to put down a book long enough to eat something.

As for walking while reading, I've caught DD doing this once. I told her not to do it and she said "well, Dad does it!" I'm still trying to convince him not to do this. We don't have sidewalks and he has been known to read while walking on a very busy street after the bus drops him off sometimes. This behavior makes me very nervous.
post #23 of 29
I sometimes do -- as does my son. Typically its just the kids and I (DH travels most weeks) having a very informal meal. It doesn't really bother me in that situation. When we have company or we are making an effort to spend some time connecting, it is not allowed.
post #24 of 29
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom View Post
At least I don't have to worry about anyone reading and driving. Both of my girls get motion sick and throw up if they read in the car.
we have like 4 reading lights in the car and one at home. my yapper toddler has turned into a silent little girl. i cant listen to music or talk to her if she is engrossed in her book in the car. it makes me smile. i can soooo relate... except that i throw up if i read ina moving vehicle.

bad example - today while she was with me i read from the parking garage to childcare and then my class while she watched for traffic on a short stretch.
post #25 of 29
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Do you make your gifted reader(s) put down their books while eating? Why or why not?
I'm trying to decide if this is a battle worth fighting or not. Thanks!
my child would read from when he got up in the morning, until the last lightbulb burnt out... so yes, we tell him to put the book down for dinner.

but I get notes from his guides saying that he reads too much

But A & A, I think there should be times when your dd puts the book down, regular times that she can anticipate, that happen every day.

We allow reading at lunch (at home) and breakfast (but this is limited because they typically have to get out the door.) But dinner is a time we talk.

I love books, so I understand the sentiment that it just feels good to touch/hold a book.

But meals have a whole ritual/ cultural purpose that at least equal the richness of reading.
post #26 of 29
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Do you make your gifted reader(s) put down their books while eating? Why or why not?
I'm trying to decide if this is a battle worth fighting or not. Thanks!
Crashing in to say I came from a family of readers at the table haha. Literally everyone had a book, magazine or even laptop. My mom was the worst of us all but she devised a way to allow everyone to get their reading fix...we could read all we wanted during lunch but dinner when Dad was home from work = family together and no reading allowed.

I still remember special occasions like Thanksgiving, where my mom would tell so and so to raise her plate up b/c she was hiding a book under it. And she'd say, "This is a special occasion! No reading!"

Ah, good times!

To this day I cannot eat without reading something.
post #27 of 29
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
No, we don't allow it, even if she is eating solo (this is really because she's almost always reading library books, and she's a messy eater).

Now, second poll: do you let them read while walking? (Yes, this is an issue here.)
This thread is transporting me back to childhood. We have a hallway with a corner in it and I swear every one of us has slammed into someone b/c we'd read while walking around the corner. (And one time I was running one way, my brother the other, and we each got a black eye but that's another story )

Now let's a poll about reading while in the bathroom...that's the one that drove my mom nuts. We'd hole up in there for hours haha.
post #28 of 29
Dinner is time for the family to sit down, talk, visit and laugh together over a good meal. We do not read at the table, much as we love reading.
post #29 of 29
quote removed by administrator

reading the different responses has been fun. I think part of it comes down to YOUR family. For our family, dinner is about the only time during the week that we all talk. It's a unique chance to connect. On weekends we make a point of having a "family fun activity" together.

I can see how in other families that wouldn't the case -- a homeschooling family who reads during lunch is very different, or a family that is 2 people and have more time to talk just to each other.

I think that in situations like ours -- where it is the only time during the day that we all connect -- a child or teen not being willing to put their book down for 15-20 minutes to connect with their family is a problem. It really isn't asking that much and zoning out with a book really isn't different than zoning out with a handheld game.

Rather than making it a power struggle, I would explain to my child *why* it was important to me and try to get to the bottom of why they were resisting spending a few minutes together soooo much. Do they not want to spend ANY time with their family? Do they feel like they spend plenty of OTHER time with their family? Is dinner too long? Are the conversations unpleasant for them? What would need to change for it to be part of their day that they looked forward to? Are the parents really negative at dinner or nag the kids?

But like I said, I can see how in other situations it wouldn't be important.
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