Whether it’s the traditional story-time before bed or an impromptu reading date on the couch, this time with your toddler is important not just right now, but for years into the future as she grows. Research suggests that reading to Baby at this age can help her later in school, and in her development in general. She will develop her own reading habits as she grows, but having good associations with reading can be a great foundation for her to build reading habits off of in the future. Plus, is there a better way to end the day than cuddling and taking adventures together to distant lands?
If Baby is feeling squirmy, though, galloping off into enchanted kingdoms may not be quite as easy as it sounds. Sure, there are days when Baby just might not feel like reading, but on others, she might just need a little extra incentive to really get involved in storytime.
Let Baby read what she wants
Sounds simple, right? But there are books out there that maybe aren’t your favorite, but Baby wants to hear five or six times before she will let you move on to something else. This habit can get frustrating, but if your toddler seems interested, it’s often best to just let her pick what she wants so you can encourage her reading as much as possible.
Repetition is part of how toddlers learn, and getting toddlers interested in reading is half the battle, so if there’s a book your little one just loves, even if it’s not your favorite, it’s probably a better choice than any objectively “better” choice” – whether she is picking the same book she has read 832 times or she wants a book about a character in underpants.
Visit the library
Whether you’re getting dental work done or telling your little one a story, it never hurts to get a little help from the professionals. Local libraries offer storytime activities that can show you the ropes in terms of engaging story reading specifically for children Baby’s age. More than that, introducing Baby to the joys of reading in a group with other children her age can kickstart her interest. Watching other kids their own age having fun engaging with a story can be a great way to inspire toddlers to get more involved in storytime, especially now that Baby has reached the age where she is going to be more and more interested in other children.
Be an example
The more you read for pleasure yourself, the more it will feel like a normal part of life to Baby, and the more she will want to join in. The more books around, the better, and letting Baby see you having fun with them is best of all.
Get into it
You’ll find that the more into the story you get, the more into it Baby will get. Even Baby has pulled a book off the shelf that isn’t your favorite story, try to find something about in it that you can get genuinely enthusiastic about. Use voices, use gestures and ask Baby questions as the story goes on. “What would you do if you were being chased by a dinosaur?” Pull her in with all the lively energy you can muster, and you may find storytime starting to turn into one of Baby’s favorite parts of the day.