Bedtime Stories for Six Year Olds…

Reading Dr Seuss is pretty much one of the best things ever about becoming a parent.

I defy anyone to read through Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and not get a lump in their throat. And The Cat in the Hat has always been one of my favourite books, as keen observers of my blog header will note.

As the Cat in the Hat likes to say,

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now! It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”

Those are the kind of words you want to live by.

But I have to say, lately, reading The Cat in the Hat – or pretty much any bedtime story – has become much harder than it used to be. Take last night for example…

Me: Oh, But our fish said, “No! No! Make that cat go away! Tell that Cat in the Hat You do NOT want to play. He should n….”

Flea: Well, in fact, the fish shouldn’t really be speaking, should he? Because fish don’t talk.

Me: Well, no. Not strictly.

Flea: Wait… wait a minute. I had a BRILLIANT idea.

Me: What’s that then?

Flea: I am going to say some poetry. “Then Sally and I did not know what to say, because our fish didn’t know how to talk until that day…”

At this point Flea falls about laughing at her own hilarity for a full minute. I know I’ve lost the attention of the audience, but I persevere. God loves a try-er after all.

Me: “This is not a good game, said the fish as he lit..” WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Flea is lying on her back, legs in the air.

Flea: I’m a puppy called Wilbur. Will you rub my tummy?

Me: No.

Flea: Ruff? [Flea is now making puppy eyes]

We pause for tummy rubs. I try again.

Me: “But I like to be here, Oh, I like it a lot, said the Cat…”

Flea: Mummy?

Me: Yes?

Flea: When are we getting a cat, Mummy?

Me: After our holidays.

Flea: Oooh. YAY!

Attempt number four.

Me: “Oh, I like it a lot, said the Cat…”

Flea: Mummy?

Me: Yes?

Flea: When we get a cat, can it wear a hat?

Me: No.

Flea: But why not?

Me: Would you like to read two chapters by yourself?

Flea: Yes, but will you stay and listen to me read?

Me: Sure.

Flea: Brilliant, but I’m going to read in dog-language, okay? By the way, did you know that dogs can breakdance?


Remember when they just used to lie there and look at you, wide-eyed?


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Rainbow Prams
    15th May 2012 / 11:06 am

    Oh bless, so true! I attempt it while reading to my 4 yr old and 6 yr old at the same time! It’s so hard to keep them focussed which is why I still read the Bear Hunt! Keeps them engaged for as long they can before they go off on a tangent! Lol perseverance is key xx

    • 15th May 2012 / 12:12 pm

      This is why I’m pleased Flea now reads her own story books. It’s only once or twice a week she asks me to read – and then TOTALLY ignores me.

  2. Dan Thornton
    15th May 2012 / 10:32 am

    When exactly was this wide-eyed stage? I’ve had the same experience with my 3-year-old…

    • 15th May 2012 / 12:11 pm

      I think it was before they could speak, or sit up. It wasn’t a LONG phase…

  3. 15th May 2012 / 10:38 am

    I am sitting in a Costa Coffee in some random part of London, with tears streaming down my face. Damn you, I am going to have to fix my make-up now! (I am very, very familiar with this scenario. Somehow, Chris manages to grab and retain her attention, still, but nor me.)
    Tasha Goddard recently posted..Review: Read Write Phonics app (Android)My Profile

    • 15th May 2012 / 12:11 pm

      She’s just always still so lively at bedtime. Bundle of energy and chat these days, aren’t they?

  4. 15th May 2012 / 11:16 am

    DD has decided that she likes to read in tandem with me. As I’m reading to her, she chooses her own book and starts to read it aloud next to me. However, I’m not allowed to stop reading out loud as we’re both reading together see? I hate it.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted..#SilentSundayMy Profile

    • 15th May 2012 / 12:12 pm

      Ha! That’s pretty cute.

  5. Nikki
    15th May 2012 / 3:30 pm

    Haven’t quite reached the questioning/random phase yet – still at the fascination and absorbtion one -long may it last! Actually got the “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” book from the library today – what a fabulous, moving read. I asked the kids what they thought it was all about at the end – not a clue. “sigh”

    • 15th May 2012 / 7:59 pm

      I’ve read it to Flea so many times I’m hoping it’ll just go in by osmosis.

  6. 15th May 2012 / 6:30 pm

    Currently sitting smugly listening to the 9yr old read the 5yr old’s bedtime story (‘Piece of Cake’, pop up mice version, by the sound of it). She doesn’t dare interrupt in case he says “well, read it yourself then” and leaves.
    Maybe we need to be as ruthless as a 9yr old boy? It also involves 10 minutes extra tv time if we read the story. Seems like a good deal to me.
    *eyes the to Do list and thinks longingly of the rather lonely tv probably talking to itself by now*
    Laura Hitchcock recently posted..Competition Closing Alert – Meenymineymo Personalised Children’s T-Shirts to Win!My Profile

    • 15th May 2012 / 8:00 pm

      What’s the Do list? That sounds dirty. Is it dirty? Is it a list of people you want to ‘do’?

  7. 15th May 2012 / 8:06 pm

    Last nights bedtime story here consisted of me laid on the bed with Bethan reading a holiday brochure to me. Now that’s a bedtime story 😉
    Cass@frugalfamily recently posted..Frugal Bubble Fun….My Profile

    • 16th May 2012 / 8:26 am

      That is AWESOME.

  8. 15th May 2012 / 10:20 pm

    I’m enjoying my son being at the “wide-eyed” stage with bedtime stories at the moment. My daughter is demonstrating similar “delaying-tactic” tendencies to Flea, with the added fun of bedtime generally being the time we remember she hasn’t done her physiotherapy exercises during the day, which necessitates a LOT of hopping around the bedroom. Not ideal when you’re trying to create a calm, relaxed environment for bedtime :\
    geekmummy recently posted..The last time I did this was 20 years ago!My Profile

    • 16th May 2012 / 8:26 am

      Yes, I remember doing it myself as a child – I see exactly the same tactics now in Flea.

  9. 15th May 2012 / 10:35 pm

    Brilliant, love it although reading to Baba is getting a bit like that already at 3 and a half! Nightmare isn’t it xx
    Kerry recently posted..We’re Getting ThereMy Profile

    • 16th May 2012 / 8:26 am

      It’s certainly a challenge!