How I Got My Toddler Back on Books After She Got a Taste of Screen Time
The struggle is real, mamas. Once those little people have a little taste of Dora the Explorer or Octonauts, there’s no going back. I’ve had some other moms ask me how I get my kids to read with me so much, and I thought this article had some good ideas. Here’s a few more:
-Start small. Maybe you can’t get through a whole book at first…choose a shorter one. A board book, maybe, that’s more tactile, with things to push or pull or touch. Then work your way up to longer ones.
-Choose appropriate books. Babybug and Hello magazines have some great little poems and rhymes, and you can get an iPad subscription now. Don’t try to start them off with something heady or intellectual…there’s some rather academic picture books out there. Choose something sing-song, something memorable with interesting, colorful illustrations. Ebooks are okay, but most kids prefer to read on paper.
-Do the voices. Sure, I get that not everyone is comfortable with a dramatic reading, but come on, it’s a pretty friendly audience. Throw some silly voices in there and make it come alive!
-Put them on your lap. Kids love sitting with you more than anything, and it makes it easier to contain them, easier to see the pictures.
-Engage with the book. If it’s obvious you’re trying to get it over with as quickly as possible (what? No, I never do that at bedtime every night…), it’s pretty obvious to them. So go ahead and ask some questions. If the character is about to make a big decision, ask your child what they would do before you read what comes next. Have them make a prediction based on the title. Point out a little detail in the illustrations that the text doesn’t mention. Connect it to another book or life experience you’ve shared. Most of all, don’t ignore their questions! If you don’t know the answer, re-read to find out or look it up online.
-Choose books you liked as a kid. My own kiddos love to hear that this was a book Grandma read to me; it becomes more than learning. It’s tradition.
-Read nonfiction. Kids are curious about the world and love to know how to things work. When you hit the “why?” stage in preschool, nonfiction books are a nice outlet for that. And there is some AMAZING nonfiction out there now.
-Model for them. Kids want to be like you, right? (Trust me, they do.) So I let my kids see me reading books that are interesting to me, magazines, graphic novels, my Bible, a letter, anything. It makes reading part of your family culture, not just a school-type demand. Plus, it’s an excuse to put your feet up and ignore them for a few minutes in the name of good parenting! Win win.
You can totally raise a book lover. And it is so much easier if you start when they’re little!
You’ve got this, mamas.