“I really would like to read to my toddler but it’s really difficult. She moves so much or when I start reading to her she grabs the book and tears it apart,” a friend of mine said to me. I really knew what she was talking about as my little toddler was doing exactly the same thing. Pulling, biting and tearing the pages ferociously as if turning into that young and wild lion that I’ve just attempted to read to him about.
Reading is important. It is necessary. It feeds imagination and language development so there is little choice really in the matter. It must be done. What should we do then when the reading changes into a chaotic feast?
I went on a mission to look for times when I can peacefully read to my son, get the most of his attention and save the books from being damaged. I had a few Eureka moments and from then on reading has become much loved by my son and easy for me and my husband. Here are our favourite times for reading:
In the morning, during his milk bottle time – I put my son on a sofa, give him a bottle of milk, sit down next to him and we go through as many as 4-5 short stories. He learned to like this morning routine so much that the books are read more than once even after the milk is finished. He likes to choose the order in which they are read too.
In the afternoon, after a good running in the garden or after being in a playground – Even the strongest and most moving of toddlers like to have a bit of downtime. When I notice that my boy would be happy to have a sit down, I take a book or two to the garden, I sit on the grass or a blanket and I don’t need to wait too long for him to turn up to snuggle under my arm for a story to be read to him. He usually turns up with his favourite ball in his hand and so he leaves the books for me to hold.
In the evening, again during his milk bottle time – We perch on the carpet or again on the sofa and we repeat the morning routine. Brushing teeth, pyjama wearing and lullaby singing come afterwards. I tried to read to my son when he was already in his bed or cot but that only distracted him and made him want to climb out of his cot.
I love these moments not only because of the opportunity to read and explore the stories but also because of the harmony that they give to our days. They restore the balance to our day and keep me sane.
When do you like reading to your child?