When your toddler says no to books

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Ben has always been a real active kid. Since he took his first step at just 9 months there has been climbing, jumping, running, motorbike rides, trampoline jumping and the list goes on. Reading on the other hand has never been high on the list of daily activities. He was far more interested in the physical aspect of books. First it was chewing books or ripping pages, then building a book tower and jumping from it or seeing how far he could throw them. When he actually did sit down for story time he would insist on turning the pages long before I’ve even finished a sentence.

I think this lack of book love is partly my fault. We just never incorporated a specific reading time into his daily routine. When he was 3 months old I noticed moms on Twitter talking about reading to their babies. Serious FOMO kicked in and I tried it for a bit but he was just so tiny and uninterested that I decided he is still too young. Then as he got a little older I tried books again but it was just so frustrating to try and get him to sit still and listen to a story that it just raised my heart rate and made me shouty mom.

Now we have reached the point where literally every kid on my timeline belongs to the monthly book club and my kid still has a 2 second attention span when it comes to books. I’m just so stressed that the lack of reading will make him fall behind. He’s already a bit of a hesitant talker so its definitely a touchy subject.

So I’ve been doing a bit of reading on kids who resist books and am relieved to hear I am not alone in this. There are plenty of toddlers who would rather spend 10 minutes trying to throw the book at the ceiling fan rather than sitting down for story time.

Things I’ve picked up from my ‘research’:

  • It’s important to nurture an early love for books (oops) Even if they just get use to holding a book and turning the pages. (now they tell me)
  • Choose bright and colourfull pages and start by just getting them interested in the illustrations – The only book Ben actually does like is “The hungry Caterpillar” so this makes a lot of sense.
  • Read infront of them. Kids usually copy their parents, so if they see you read they will want to follow. – I usually wait till Ben is asleep to read, because who sits and read infront of their kids, but actually it makes so much sense.
  • Create a special little reading corner that your kids love. Make a big fuss about it.
  • Buy books about their favourite TV show or characters, but don’t make the mistake I did. I bought him a ‘CARS’ book that includes tiny little Mater, Mqceen etc cars. He ended up throwing the book to the side and playing with the cars.
  • If your kid refuse to sit still for reading time try keep their hands busy with playdough or colouring in to force them to sit still. I’m currently reading to Ben during bath time when he is relaxed and playing with his boats and it is definitely working.
  • Also rather than forcing your kid to sit still and read, try make the book come to life. When the monkey in the book is dancing put down the book and dance with our kiddy. If the book is about fruit, ask your little to go get an apple from the kitchen and show it to you.
  • Keep on trying. – I now ask Ben regularly if he would like to read a book. Sometimes he says yes and (often) no. If he says no I don’t force it but when he says yes I make a big deal about it and he gets very excited. Also where I use to get stressed out and angry when he jumps up after one page I now see it as a triumph. We read a whole page, yay, high fives, and so in me being more relaxed about it I find him asking for books more often.

The golden rule is always to “Let them find it in their own time”

1 Comment on When your toddler says no to books

  1. Cassey
    March 1, 2016 at 7:33 pm (2 years ago)

    We don’t have a reading corner, so I wouldn’t say it’s important. I figure it’s more important that they have a space of any kind for their things, including books.

    Also, you’re doing the best job for Ben, just like everyone else is doing the best job for their kid. I figure the book kiddies, just like mine, have book parents. You are a more active do with your hands person, so Ben would be the same.

    Yay you!


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