My daughter is 8 years old and is reading constantly.
- She wakes up and reads and I need to call her to breakfast 10 times (even though she herself devised a schedule for our morning routine)
- she escapes from the breakfast (or lunch or dinner table) as fast as possible to get back to reading
- if I don't check on her, she reads instead of getting ready for school
- she comes home and wants to read
- if she's upset (for the smallest of disagreements), she storms off and reads (she says she needs to calm down).
Even if her 5-year-old sister is around, she often prefers to sit on the sofa and read and let the little one mind her own business.
The other thing to call out is that it doesn't matter to her very much which book she is reading. She does get into a book deeply, but once it's done she immediately picks up the next. She has 10 open books scattered around the house and unless she is really stuck she'll just pick the closest one and starts reading.
This has always been like this to a degree, but I feel it's getting more pronounced.
For what it's worth, I'm erring on the side of more context in case this is useful:
a/ She's doing well at school, near the top of the class across all subjects and the teachers speak very highly of her and haven't flagged any concerns (though they have 30 children and as long as she "performs" well, they might not notice?)
We do send her to extracurricular activities (maybe too many of them). For example, she fought for us to buy her violin lessons, but she never practices on her own. She would rather read.
b/ I also see a lot of myself in her. I've never been diagnosed with anything, but like her I was good in school, am reasonably creative, am constantly fiddling with something, frequently touch my face, used to suck my thumb for a long time, find it hard to listen sometimes, can be self-absorbed (i.e., my needs first), need constant entertainment (phone, laptop, and iPad), find it hard to fall asleep and don't usually enjoy just being with my own thoughts.
My worry is that she uses books to escape from something, as if her thoughts or emotions are threatening to overwhelm her so she needs to distract herself.
And if that's the case I'm not sure whether this should be a concern or whether I should be grateful that she has a coping mechanism when things get out of hand for her.
Should I seek professional help?
What is a reasonable threshold here? I'm concerned for her longer-term mental health and resilience, but I would not in any way want to reinforce any feelings of being different or not belonging to this family. I'm also worried she could lose trust in us having her best interests at heart.