Back in the newborn phase, our days were predictably filled with snuggles and sleeping babies who ate non stop. Now let’s excitedly embrace these crazy moments where they don’t stop moving at all! Ever! Toddlers. I’ve been asked more than once, how do you make an active toddler sit still enough to actually read with them? We know we should read, we have a desire to read with them, but it just isn’t happening. Well, I’ve come up with a list of TIPS on how to make reading with a toddler the most enjoyable experience possible:
1. DON’T FORCE IT. Willing our littles to love to read, or to sit still so that we can finish a book won’t help. Forcing our children to do almost anything can grow a resentment. Resenting and disliking books is the opposite of what we’re trying to do with them. Now don’t take that as me saying you should let your kids run the show and do as they please. You just have to work the system, choose your battles, and maybe with some of the following tips, you’ll be able to trick them into a lifetime of book loving.
2. Sometimes you got to ‘Summarize’ the content. Ever wanted to share an amazing story from your childhood but realized it is so so wordy??? Oh yeah, I’m raising my hand. Sometimes I skim for lack of a better term, or I paraphrase. Just enough to get them super involved but not get stuck on a page for too long. Keep the pace moving forward. There is time for long books as they get older. For now, meet them at their level.
3. Ask them to read it with you. No, I don’t mean they’ve got to be the world’s smartest toddler and be capable of reading already to do this. I mean if it’s a story you’ve read before, ask if they remember it. Do’ they want to help you read it. Maybe they’ll do some cute ad-lib and change up the story in a way only their imagination could.
4. Engage them. Don’t take the book too seriously, be silly. This is about the kids, this is for them, just enjoy it. Add some jokes, put some suspense into your tone, make it a game and act it out with them.
5. Enjoy them. They are only little once. The most overused phrase that absolutely rings true. Snuggle them, have them on your lap, lay down in bed together, take the book to the park, read on the trampoline. It doesn’t matter where or how never lose sight of how precious reading with your kids can be.