How to Stay Awake While Reading Aloud
Does read-aloud time find you fighting fatigue? Being a parent is a tiring job, and by the time you sit down for read-aloud time, it’s all too easy to drift off to sleep. These mom-tested tips will help you stay awake while reading aloud.
My kids love to tell embarrassing stories about how I would fall asleep while reading aloud to them. I just couldn’t stay awake! My head would start to bob, I’d start to repeat sentences, and—most mortifying of all—I even talked in my sleep a few times!
All the late nights washing dishes and early mornings preparing lesson plans caught up with me.
It was inevitable.
I would begin to read and before long my eyelids would get heavy … I’d start feeling sleepy … very sleepy…
and my kids would sneak off to play, giggling softly.
Tips for Staying Awake
Before you inadvertently drift off to dreamland and leave your kids with a half-finished story, try these tips for staying alert during reading time.
Vary Your Location
Your comfy sofa or reading chair might be just a little too comfy, so try reading somewhere else—at the kitchen table, perhaps, or on the front porch. The fresh air and sunshine can help keep you energized, and a slightly less comfortable chair will help keep you awake.
Vary the Time of Day
If your read-aloud time is scheduled for your kids’ bedtime, chances are that you’re already getting sleepy yourself. If possible, change your read-aloud time to earlier in the day—perhaps right after breakfast—when you are still fresh and wide awake.
Stay alert by sipping ice water as you read, or engage yourself in the story by developing and using different voices for the characters. Eat some apple slices or plain popcorn. Prepare yourself some hot tea—and take a sip each time you start to feel sleepy.
Now back to my story …
Eventually, my struggle with sleepy read-aloud times made me realize that I was fighting fatigue in other areas of my life, too. A simple blood test revealed that I was anemic, and the subsequent iron supplementation helped a lot.
And so did getting to bed a bit earlier!
Do you have a favorite tip for staying awake while reading aloud? Please share, and I’ll add it to the reader’s tip box below!
Stay-Awake Tips Recommended by Our Readers
- My 13 yr. old daughter likes to read to the younger ones and then I CAN doze on the couch while they read. It’s learning and practice for all of them. (Recommended by Angie via blog comment)
- You might also want to consider blood sugar. One symptom of high blood sugar is being very sleepy. (Recommended by Kathryn via blog comment)
- For me, falling asleep while reading to my kids at 9:00 a.m. was a warning sign that something was wrong. I was dealing with food allergies and adrenal fatigue which made me fall asleep 10 to 15 minutes after I sat down anywhere! (Recommended by Christine via blog comment)
- Bright natural light definitely helps! (Recommended by Rebecca J. via blog comment)
- I always read aloud RIGHT after breakfast which means three things: 1. My kids are full and happy 2. I’ve had my morning coffee 3. I have a second coffee in my free hand. (Recommended by Shelly via blog comment)
- Read outside. (Recommended by Rachel A. via blog comment)
- If I find myself getting tired, I walk around the room while I read. (Recommended by Esther via blog comment)
- I try to remember to breathe! And breathe deeply. Sometimes we can read long passages and forget to breathe and that can add to our drowsiness. (Recommended by Lin via blog comment)
- The BEST read-aloud times are when we pile up in the hammock! (Recommended by Melissa H. via blog comment)
- I have found standing and moving and reading with dramatic expression to be helpful. (Recommended by Hollie via blog comment)
- I drink ice water. It refreshes and energizes my body. (Recommended by Stephenia B. via blog comment
- If I’m feeling sleepy or a few times when I wasn’t feeling well, I would start reading, then have an older child take over. (Recommended by Melissa via blog comment)
- Sometimes, I just need some cold caffeine. Other times, I just need to stand up and shake off my exhaustion. (Recommended by Ann E. via blog comment)
- I did just teach my five-year-old to elbow her dad when he falls asleep reading! :) (Recommended by Diana via blog comment)
Photo credit: Rachel Neumann