So I have a question for you. Have you always wanted to read Harry Potter to your kid? Like have you dreamed about this moment since before your child even existed? Do you worship the ground J.K. Rowling walks on? Do you sometimes have to remind yourself that the world of Harry Potter is fiction because you have real deep down feelings about the characters? Sorry, that was like 9000 questions.
But if you answered yes to some of them and reading Harry Potter to your child is on your bucket list, I have something REALLY important to tell you:
DO NOT F THIS UP!!!!
I don’t mean to scare you or anything, but it is very possible to make a royal mistake and turn your kid off Harry Potter forever (insert scary horror music here).
So here goes, here are 7 things to do when it comes to reading Harry Potter to your kiddo:
1. Do NOT start too early.
I know you’ve been chomping at the bit to do this for years, but it is imperative that you wait until they are ready. Ask yourself: does your kid have an amazing attention span? There are 4,224 pages in the Harry Potter series, 223 in the first book. That’s a lot of F’ing pages (not enough if you ask me). But seriously, can your kid sit through that many pages? If they can, AWESOME. If not, wait wait wait. I had one kid who was ready at 5 ½ and the other who wasn’t ready until 7.
2. Youuuuuuu wannnnnttttt toooooooo readddddd theeeeeeee firssssstttttt boooooooook realllllllyyyyyy slowwwwlllllllyyyyy.
Sorry, that’s as annoying as Colin Creevey. But here’s the thing, Harry Potter is not easy. There are lots of characters, difficult names, weird accents, complicated plots, and lots of big vocabulary words. When I started reading it to both of my kiddos, not only did I go verrry slowwwly, but I even changed a difficult word here or there. Yes, I know you want them to learn words like “incredulously” and “disgruntled,” and they will, but if they can’t understand the story, what’s the point?
3. Pause once in a while to talk about what you’ve read.
Ask them questions just to make sure they understand what’s going on. Easy questions like “why does Harry have a scar?” or “what do you think about Harry’s cousin?” I actually did this with my son and quicky realized he had no Fing clue what was happening, and we put the book down and picked it back up about 6 months later.
4. Pause again BEFORE the 4th book.
The 4th book is dark. Very dark. I won’t say what happens, but I will say there is death. Sad death that will make it hard for you to keep reading through your snotty tears. Some kids will be okay with that, but some kids will require extensive hypnotism and shock therapy afterward, so unless you want to cash in their 529 plan to get their brain fixed, make sure they’re old enough to handle these emotions.
5. Now this one is up to you, but in our house we have a gigantic rule—NO watching the movies before the book is finished.
In fact, since I’d never seen a Harry Potter movie before I read the first book to Zoey, I pronounced Hagrid’s name wrong the entire time and so did Zoey. I pronounced it Hay-grid. I’ve also heard about kids pronouncing Hermione’s name wrong and calling her Hermy-one. I’ve even heard about kids picturing the characters with their own color of skin. I think this is amazing. Books inspire kids to use their imagination. But once you see the movies, Daniel Radcliffe will forever more be what Harry Potter looks like.
6. Okay, get out a tissue because this one is sad. Really sad.
Are you ready for this? Some kids will not like Harry Potter. I know, gasp!!!!! I will cross every finger that this won’t be your kid, but it does happen. And that’s okay. I mean, no, it’s really not okay, but sigh, you can’t force them to like something. Life goes on. My kid doesn’t like chocolate and every day I wonder where I F’ed up.
7. Because there’s no way I can end on #6.
Try not to get too sad as you get closer and closer to finishing the entire series with your kiddo. By the time I finished reading Harry Potter to my last child, I was bawling. For all sorts of reasons. Finishing Harry Potter with both of my kids felt like the end of an era. But guess what I’m reading now? Harry Potter! To my son! Again!
In the words of one of my favorite characters, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”
So if you do it right, it might be so amazing, the end might not be the end. And hey, if they don’t want to read Harry Potter with you again, so be it. Someday you’ll have grandchildren.
If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it, especially with your friends who love Harry Potter like he’s a real person. Thank you.
P.S. If your family LOVES Harry Potter, I have a Harry Potter storefront with sooo many awesome things we’ve bought over the years. (I am an Amazon affiliate and can earn from qualifying purchases).