At the end of a long day, do you ever just feel like skipping a night of reading with your kids?  You’re not alone. A lot of parents confess that the nightly reading routine can feel like yet another thing to do sometimes.

Let’s be clear that a regular reading routine with your child is critical. But let’s also be honest: there are going to be some days when schedules are too crazy and despite your best intentions, reading is just not going to happen. While that means missed opportunities to use reading-together time to have great conversations that build language and help your child learn more about the world (both essential for reading success), it also sometimes means avoiding a negative reading experience for you and your child – and that’s a good thing. You definitely want to help him associate reading with sweet and engaging times together, to help him feel excited about books and eager to read on his own.

But on those days when you don’t have it in you to read aloud, give yourself a break and change it up a little. Maybe put on an audiotape and let your child listen as he falls asleep, or let him spend a little time with books on his own. There won’t be conversation with these options, but there could be reading-related skills learned, and there is your own self-preservation to think about, too. In the end, there are all sorts of reasons to take care of yourself when you are under a lot of stress or just too tired (including great modeling for kids on strategies that build social emotional skills ). And maybe the break will help you charge yourself up for another round of parenting – and reading and talking together – tomorrow!