3 Year Old Ripping Books

Updated on February 04, 2011
T.V. asks from Baton Rouge, LA
9 answers

My 3 yr.old daughter LOVES LOVES books and has since birth. After her bedtime routine (that includes reading etc..)we let her "read" books for a little while. Every night we check on her and every now and again we'll find books that have been ripped up?! Tonight the entire floor was covered w/shreds of book pages? We are concerned about this bc we know she loves to read and be read to, so why on earth is she doing this?? Is this a phase? Is there a "deep meaning". It's not as though she is left in her room crying. She goes to sleep perfectly, we kiss goodnight and talk about the next day etc. It is always a pleasant goodbye. Any suggestions?

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter did that when we first moved her into a toddler bed at 20 months. It didn't last long, once she realized she was destroying her books and they couldn't be fixed.

I'd also stop the reading while in bed thing. Change her routine up so that when you say good-night, it's good night.

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answers from Mobile on

you should tell her no dont do that if she dosent listen pop her not hard so she can understand if that dosent work she just like ripping books she has seen someone do it and now she does it



answers from Raleigh on

Well I definitely wouldn't take her books away because the fact that she loves to read is absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't take that from her. I wouldn't leave the books in her room. I would stay in there with her while she is reading and then remove them. If she does this again I would take something else away that she enjoys doing...TV...playing outside...having friends over....any extra curricular activities that you do! I'm almost positive it's a stage...good luck! Oh and by the way...you know those baby books they make that are almost like plastic??? Try to find some like that and tell her that big girls don't rip up books and if she keeps doing that than she will have to read baby books...that might make her want to ACT like a big girl! Just an idea...again, good luck!



answers from Redding on

It may be a phase, but if she really LOVES LOVES LOVES books, then she shouldn't be destroying them.
If it was my kid, I would have made her clean up the mess, throw it in the garbage and tell her that she would not have reading time anymore if she kept ripping her books up,
My kids had books that belonged to me and my husband, not to mention their grandparents when they were little. If my kids tore up even one, that would have been the end of it until they could show some respect for them.
3 is young, but your daughter knows she is destroying something.
Make her put them in the garbage.
Don't leave books around for her to tear up.
She's acting out for some reason. She needs to understand that anything she feels like destroying, toys or anything else, will be off limits to her until she feels like respecting them.

She isn't "reading" books while you aren't watching. She is tearing them up.
Maybe she's trying to tell you that she's not ready for "reading" on her own and her books need to be taken care of by you until she knows the true value of them. She's either bored being left in her room with books or angry that you are leaving her to read them alone.

It seems obvious that leaving her alone with books for the time being is not the best plan.



answers from Baton Rouge on

My 3 yo daughter was ripping up her books as well to the point of unfixability. When she got up the next morning, I had the books in a pile, and we talked about how when she tears up the books, she can't read them anymore, and then I had her put them into the trash can. That's when it really hit her, and she of course broke down crying about having to throw away something that she loved because she had destroyed it. We haven't had a torn book since and even her other toys seem to be extra taken cared of :)



answers from Alexandria on

its simple. she's three yrs old so there is no reason she should tear them up. talk to her about it, warn her that if it happens again she will lose them for a little while. if she loves her story time then that should stop her. if not, follow through with the threat.


answers from Dallas on

She's too old to be acting like that. My DD stopped doing that at about age 2. I would tell her that it's not ok to do that and give her only ONE book to start with. If she can keep that one intact, then she may have another. Do this until she cuts this behavior out. I'm sure there's not "meaning" behind it, just that it's fun to tear things up.


answers from Spokane on

It's a phase most little ones go through. You just have to get it through her head that treating books this way is not OK. When my girls were doing the same thing, we just didn't allow them to have books in their room at all. Then, we'd sit with them while they read their one book, making sure they treated it properly. After a while, we moved and sat quietly in the corner while they read their books. Then we slowly moved up to them being by themselves with a book and checking on them frequently. This was a process that took a couple of months, starting over each time they tore up a book or defaced it in some way. My youngest daughter did that nonsense again a couple months ago and she wasn't allowed to look at books period for several days which just about tore her up because she loves to read so much. But if she can't respect them she didn't need to be looking at them, especially since we'd already shown her the proper way. She was just turned 4 at that time. She's a lot better about it now and she'll be 5 soon.


answers from Williamsport on

She may just enjoy ripping books suddenly. Don't get concerned unless you explain clearly that ripping books is not allowed, enforce consequences, and she still does it moreso than any other disobedience for other stuff she does. Like she's "targeting her books" or something while behaving for everything else. Treat it like any other discipline thing and I'm sure she'll quit. My kids love their pillow pets but it didn't stop them from totally un-stuffing one and throwing the stuffing all around the room for fun. :(
Don't take the books away as a consequence, you want her to learn not to tear them, not make it impossible for her to tear them. It's important for her self control and 3 is way old enough. Use something very firm and immediate after just one warning once you have explained to her it's not allowed.

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