The one where I confess I’m indoctrinating my friends kids…

…because it’s true. I really am.

Those who don’t share my faith beliefs may think I’m about to confess to forcing them to read the bible, go to church, Sunday school, bible camp!


It’s in a different way. I’m encouraging them into becoming fully fledged bookworms.

Granted, I’m not around them as much as their parents and teachers. So you know, my influence is fairly minimal. But yesterday I was thinking about my two awesome godsons – the eldest of which will be NINE (yes, I’m freaking out about that) next year. The other will turn 1. Elastaboy loves a book, and though it’s tough to tell at 4 months old, it seems the Grand Duke is heading in the same direction.

"Don't let them buy anything" said their Mum. "Ummm....books don't count right?" said I.

A day out so their Mum could pack for surf camp in 2014 without ‘help’ from their youngest son (out of shot climbing on a wall). “Don’t let them buy anything” said their Mum. “Ummm….books don’t count right?” said I. (You can’t go through life without having read Charlotte’s Web in my opinion).

One of my favourite things to do with all my friends kids is read with them. It is by far my favourite part of babysitting getting to do the storytime part of the bedtime routine. I did this with my little sister who I also created stories for, and my little brother, who was so good at memorising every.single.word of his favourite books he would correct you if you didn’t get those bedtime stories word perfect. Then I had about a 10 year gap before I really got to do it again, and that was for Miss Sweetroot. It’s no secret that I was overjoyed when she fell in love with the books of Jacqueline Wilson – my favourite author as a kid. Through Miss Sweetroot I fell back in love with Children’s Literature, and took no shame in borrowing her books after she’d finished them. Because quite frankly I wanted to find out how they ended (this is the problem of only doing some bedtime routines – you miss bits of the story!). Every time I visited Elastaboy and Mr Teapot they would drag out books for me to read. And pretty much every Christmas and Birthday my friends’ kids get a book from me. As I mentioned the other week, I read to my newest godson (the Duke) and as he sat peacefully and didn’t cry I’m going to take that as a good sign.

Miss Sweetroot, now a high school student has developed the same tendencies of being found to be reading way past her bedtime, and having a constant stack of unread books because she buys more than she has time to read. Can’t think where she’s learned those bad habits from, but I fear calling her out on this would be hypocritical. Last few times I’ve seen Elastaboy, he’s opened up the book I’ve given him and completely ignored well…everyone…as he immediately started reading it. Last time I saw him in October, he got told off by his Dad for reading a book while we were sitting in a restaurant. I used to do exactly the same thing when I went shopping with my Mum – I would end up doing things like finding a spot underneath a rack of clothes or some other random corner where I could cosy up and just start reading. She also had to curtail my book buying for holidays because we

1) couldn’t afford all the books I could get through in a 2 week holiday

2) needed space in our luggage for clean clothes and beach towels.

And I’m pretty sure when I was his age, I probably got bored halfway through the meal and pulled out a book too, and hoped that by sitting at the end of a table no one would notice that I’d checked out of the grown up’s conversations.

So beware if you let your child communicate with me. They just may need a bigger bookshelf soon…





5 thoughts on “The one where I confess I’m indoctrinating my friends kids…

  1. lizinstpete says:

    Will you travel to Russia? 🙂 I fear TV is winning out in our household. I’ve always been a bookworm, but my 4 yr old doesn’t read yet, and does not play by himself. Hopefully once he learns to read I’ll be able to instill that habit in him!


    • BrunetteKoala says:

      I’ve read to them since they were newborns. We read together. Elastaboy started teaching himself to read at 3, but some of the other kids really struggled with reading themselves. so it was about finding a love of the stories rather than pressuring them to read well. The desire to access more stories helped encourage them to persevere. Love of books is the first beginning – I think sometimes we grown ups get caught up in policing what they are reading, how they are reading and it can put them off. Finding fun books – especially picture books is key! Having lots of access to them – all my friends kids have a shelf in their living room at their level they can pull out books from. We wear them as hats, I’ve watched them “read” them upside down. We’ve shut books after one page and picked up another one and then they’ve pulled the first one back….! Also, books on CD can be great for reading along to, or having for a naptime or even listening together as you maybe do stuff in the kitchen.


      • lizinstpete says:

        Thanks! I would love to incorporate audio books, but my son always asks to “see” anything we’re listening to, even music. So far we read at naptime and bedtime but hopefully we’ll find ways to read more often. Maybe if we went to a bookstore or library together. We went to the library this summer and he was only interested in the toys and the fish tank! And when we read books he often asks if I can find the movie of it…sigh. So maybe I should focus on classics that have been made into films, as incentive to read it first?


      • BrunetteKoala says:

        Sounds like visualisation is important so picture books sound great. And no reason why can’t do book then film. I didn’t get into Harry Potter until I saw the first film – then I was totally hooked! If he’s asking to see the film he obviously likes the story. BFG might be a good one as film just came out on DVD recently. Take courage, my friends son only likes books about Star Wars and lego and just yesterday he read “the book with no pictures” to me (with a little help with some of the harder words). Never thought that would happen a few years ago.


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