Reading To an Active Toddler

Reading To an Active Toddler 

Each child develops in his/her own special way.  Some are visually observant and seem drawn to books.  Others are more interested in physical development and hardly sit long enough to look at a book.

Calvin comes from a long line of movers and shakers.  Being very active runs in the family, and that's okay.  Development has a way of leveling out in the end.

Is it possible to interest an active toddler in books? Yes, it is; but it takes some creativity on our part.  Here are some things that worked for me.

♥ Choose the right book. Get books that have large colorful pictures and very few words on a page. An active child probably won't listen to a whole page of text. In fact, on some days a sentence may be too long.  Instead of reading the text, I will often point and name some of the images on the page: ball, boy, bat, etc.

♥ Get creative with your voice.   I love using sound effects.  As we sit on the floor playing, I will pull Calvin into my lap and bring out a book. My reading may consist of pointing and naming objects on the page, and then making crazy sounds: bee/buzzzzz; cow/mooooo; sun/sizzzzz; etc.  I also use different voices for different characters in a story: Daddy/deep voice; Mommy/medium voice; Baby/high, squeaky voice.

♥ Follow your child's lead. Some days your child may sit and listen to a whole story.  Other days he/she may hardly listen to one page.  Both days are okay.  I've found that it's better to cut a story short or quickly paraphrase the end, than it is to insist on finishing the book.  

♥ Make reading fun.  Keep a playful spirit, and go with the flow.  Look for fun ways to include books in your child's play.  Try hiding a book under a blanket.  Then look around and say, "Where's the book?" Let you child reveal it's hiding place, and then act surprised.  Or put the book into a wagon as you say, "Would you like to go for a ride today, Mr. Book?"  Then let your child pull it around.  The goal is to help your child see books as fun.

♥ Be patient.  When Calvin's Daddy was a toddler, he had little interest in books; but he had a Mommy that wouldn't give up. Every day that I could, I did something with books.  By the time he was three years old, books were his bedtime friends. Each night, he would choose the books he wanted to look at in bed.  After I read him a story, he would lay in bed looking at his books until he fell asleep.  When I heard the pages stop turning, I'd come upstairs, gather the books, and turn off the light.

♥ Don't give up.  Reading is so much fun and well worth the effort. 

Do you have a comment or a suggestion? I'd love to hear from you.