Books for Breakfast

First, let me acknowledge that I am enough of a spendthrift and an old-fashioned person to not only get the New York Times delivered daily to my house (paper form!), but also to read it over breakfast and read various interesting points out loud to whomever is near. Yes, of course this is an irritating habit. And I know that Twitter has now taken over this role in the world, but if you ask me twitter and breakfast do not mix.

All of which is to say: I read during breakfast. Therefore, it puts me in a weak position with regards to forbidding my children to read at breakfast. But as most parents know, reading a book at breakfast is invitation to falling down the warm welcoming well of things-that-don't-involve-getting-ready-for -school. And given the speed at which people in my house move, there really isn't time for any of those things.

So what's the responsible thing to do? Give up my own morning paper? Impossible. It would break my heart.

Read my paper while the children suffered bookless? I don't know if I have the stomach for it.

Carry on in our current fashion, which involves everyone reading through breakfast and then all of a sudden realizing what time it is amid a lot of rushing and stressing and yelling along with unpleasant screeching  from me when I realize someone has holed up in the bathroom reading and is, in fact, not yet dressed or even close to ready.

Is this crazy? There must be a better way, but I cannot imagine it. It can't be to ban breakfast reading, can it?

12 thoughts on “Books for Breakfast

  1. When I was in high school (and probably before that) there was no breakfast until I was ready to walk out the door. Faster dressing means more reading time!


  2. Reading or no reading, breakfast on school days is just a bitch all around. I can’t figure it out because all I want when I open my eyes is peace and sunshine. At least in this house, there’s no such thing.


  3. Um, getting ready first? Move fast and get more breakfast reading time? Then you can sit there and read out loud to empty seats ’till they get down and join you, but at least you’ll be reading. (And setting an example.) I had to figure out a way to justify the practice.


  4. I second the “get ready first” rule… for weekdays. Weekends are for reading at the table. Breakfast can take an hour then.


  5. Argh. I actually can still recite the text on the backs of some mid-80s cereal boxes from when that was all I was allowed to read during breakfast as a kid. My kids are younger than yours but for the 6 year old we instituted a boot-camp like timetable: 15 minutes to wake up and drink a glass of milk, 15 minutes to get dressed, 15 minutes to eat breakfast, and then (theoretically if all the other things get done) there’s 15 minutes left to play or read. Or more, if the other tasks get done quickly. It sounds insane, but it did help us. Of course, I’m also not trying to read myself during breakfast. You could fell better reading out loud while they are eating, if they get to read after eating.


  6. I know it seems like it should be possible to get ready first. And theoretically it is. But somehow…everyone shows up and has breakfast in their pajamas and is not ready. I don’t know how this is possible except that it is. And it clearly makes everything more difficult. Except that it seems to express something both frightening and true about our whole family—which is either that we’re always tired, or if we had our druthers (!) we’d wander the house in our pjs all day, spreading books and crumbs far and wide.


  7. My own slipshod approach is to give my boys their breakfast (usually sandwiches, so not too messy) to eat in the car. Not great for the car…but it saves a few precious minutes. There is never any time for them to read, poor things.


  8. continuing my comment above–my boys have also never quite grasped that it is possible to eat and read at the same time. Does anyone else have this problem with their children?


  9. I read at breakfast and get up a bit early in order to have that relaxing time before the day begins. My son also reads while he eats. I do think you must enforce a dressed and ready before breakfast approach and then set a timer so that you have the minutes necessary to brush teeth, collect school bags, and then get out the door.


  10. Seconding the timer. I have a watch with three different alarms so that I make it to all the various obligations on time. I wish I had 6.
    Set the timer as an audio reminder of “must do X now.” it works better than any other strategy here!


  11. How about: everyone is allowed to read THE NEWSPAPER during breakfast. Justification: While novels are more suited to the subway, living room or bedroom, newspapers have been traditional breakfast reading for generations. Reading newspapers is a way to keep up with current events and support a historic, valuable and threatened institution at the same time. And there are several sections, so everyone can read a different one. Plus, newspaper articles are short, so there’s less danger of getting carried away and forgetting to get ready for school/work/etc.


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