As a parent, Mindy Kaling keeps a lot on the down-low. The “Late Night” star largely hides her kids’ lives away from the public eye and surprised everyone in October with news that she had welcomed a secret baby in lockdown.
But when it comes to battling parenting burnout, Kaling is an open book. Specifically, burnout related to reading your kid’s favourite bedtime stories over and over ... and over ...
To stop slogging through dull reads, Kaling told her Instagram followers a simple parenting trick she’s done with her two-year-old Katherine, nicknamed Kit.
“I’ll start a story and then I’ll just stop and be like, ’Kit, what do you think should happen next?” Kaling explained.
The point of this, she explained during an Instagram Live conversation about creativity with LEGO last month, was to make her daughter feel like a storyteller by asking her a jumping point to bounce off of: “What do you think should happen next?”
The open-ended question, Kaling revealed, has given them a lot of mileage out of their beloved book collection.
“It sort of pushes her to be creative instead of being passive ... it’s just fun, and it makes a ritual we do every night,” she said.
In an Instagram post made last year, she shared their go-to reads. Among them are classics like There’s A Wocket In My Pocket by Dr. Seuss and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle.
Treating every story like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel is a clever life hack, both for keeping parents interested and for adding another bonus to the plethora of benefits that come with early literacy.
Story time is more than just a winding down routine to get kids to fall asleep (although it’s definitely a godsend for antsy little ones); research has shown that reading to kids every day can boost their vocabulary, develop their emotional and listening skills, and most importantly, give children cherished memories with their favourite grown-ups.
The type of books you read together can also support their growth as people, with inclusive stories normalizing a spectrum of diverse identities from a young age; a concept that likely isn’t lost on Kaling, the showrunner for Netflix’s high school comedy “Never Have I Ever” starring the New York Times-approved Canadian teen actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.
Check out: How kids benefit from a variety of books. Story continues after the slideshow.
So the next time you’re at your wits end singsonging Goodnight, Moon or pretending to be a Where the Wild Things Are monster, take a page out of Kaling’s book and ask your kid to do your job. They’ll be better for it!
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