Reading to Your Toddler

Reading to Your ToddlerGetting a toddler to sit still and hold their attention is no easy task. As a baby becomes a toddler, books become a wonderful way to spend quality time together.

But how do you get your little one to stay interested and sit still? What are some good activities to do while reading to a toddler? Where are the best places to read? Here are some tips to help you have a successful experience reading to your toddler.

Getting Their Attention

A good way get your child’s attention is to have them select the book. Toddlers love to have independence and do things on their own terms. Allow your child to pick a book at home off of the shelf. Another great idea is taking your toddler to the library. Allow them to explore the children’s section and select a book or two that is age appropriate and appealing to them.  Remember it’s okay if your child doesn’t sit still as you read. Keep distractions at a minimum and continue reading.

Best Kind of Books

Books that invite movement, sound, and curiosity are sure winners with toddlers. Books that have sound buttons are fun. Try an animal sounds book to work on language development. Lift-a-flap books are a hit with toddlers, but make sure you watch your little one with these. (Trust me, I’ve learned from experience. The pages rip out easily!) Hidden picture books and touch and feel books are also very interesting to toddlers. Allow your child to explore the story, and obviously, don’t select books with too many words.

Activities You Can Do While Reading

Try having your toddler pick out items you name on the page. Work on learning colors or numbers with a book. Point out familiar phrases and items that your child is around daily in books. Reading books with songs and rhymes is a fun way to teach your little one about music and dance. Be creative!

Best Places to Read

Reading before naptime and bedtime is an easy way to incorporate reading into your bedtime routine. My daughter loves to sit in the rocking chair and read a book or two before bed. It is a calming, but still engaging activity. Take your toddler to storytime at your local library. I was intimidated going to ours at first, but rest assured, no toddler will completely sit still for the entire story time. Most library incorporate music and play with their reading, too. It’s a great social activity for your little one.

Don’t worry if your child isn’t as interested in the book as you had hoped. Just read frequently and eventually, your toddler will love reading with you. You may get tired of reading the same book over and over, so encourage your toddler to choose a new book or try reading at a different time during the day. Whatever you do, just read! You are nurturing a love for reading that will last a lifetime.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way. Her daughter Johanna loves to go to the library and read books about animals.


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