5 Tips to Bring Reading into Your Never-Sit-Still Toddlers Life

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Nearly every time you head to the pediatrician's office, they probably ask if you’re reading with your little one. They ask this question because reading with your baby is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Studies show that spending time reading with your baby improves your bond, boosts their vocabulary and speech, and sets them up for academic success later in life. Reading can be a fantastic, cuddly activity for parents and little ones to share, but what do you do if your little one just won’t sit still for story time? Follow the tips below to make sure your active tot gets the reading time they need!

1. Rotate your reading selection

Toddlers often have short attention spans and if they get bored they don’t hesitate to let you know. If you find your little one wandering (or running) off a few pages into story time, try switching up your books to keep story time feeling fresh. Save money by heading to the library and letting your little one pick out a few books to take home each week.

2. Keep your little one’s interests in mind

Some kids are into animals, other love trucks and big machinery, and still others love anything related to school. Whatever your little one's interests are, look for books that will capture their attention. Many toddlers respond well to books with vivid illustrations, so do your best to pick something that looks as interesting as it sounds.

3. Keep your expectations in check

Before you sit down to read with your child, make sure you have realistic expectations about how long they’ll remain engaged. It’s not uncommon for very young children to be unable to sit for any longer than a few minutes or for them to demand to switch books halfway through the story. When you read, keep in mind that what’s most important is that you and your little one are enjoying each other’s company. Take a breather, be realistic, and enjoy the time your little ones gives you.

4. Create a cozy reading routine

If you want reading with your little one to be a success, make it a point to integrate reading into your daily routine. Choose a time that your little one is naturally calmer (many people find after breakfast or just before bed works well) and be sure to stick to it once you start reading at that time. Make the experience pleasant by pairing it with a warm cuddle, a morning snack, or the chance to sit or be somewhere your little ones usually isn’t and they’ll soon begin to look forward to it!

5. Find words as you go about your day

If you try all of the above and still find that you’re not reading with your little one as much as you’d like, look for other ways to bring literacy into your everyday life. Read labels with your little one as you shop at the grocery store, point out signs with favorite words or pictures, or ask your little one to name things they see as you drive down the road. Just because you’re not reading all at once doesn’t mean that your little one isn’t benefiting from your efforts.

Happy reading moms and dads! 

{ MORE: Helping Boys Succeed in School: 7 Tips to Foster Reading }

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5 Tips to Bring Reading into Your Never-Sit-Still Toddlers Life

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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