3 Tips To Help Your Child (And You) Enjoy Reading
We all know the benefits of reading to our children. Some kids naturally take to books, like bees to honey. With some others, it can seem like a losing battle. I have both of these kids.
I get it. The pressure to be a perfect parent of an all-star child is immense these days. And when our child does not turn out to be hitting the milestones that that we expect of them, we start questioning ourselves as parents and placing our doubts on our children.
I’m here to tell you, it’s okay. It’s okay if your child would rather play ball or throw a tantrum than read a book. After all, in the minds of most children, watching a ball being thrown and bounced back to you is infinitely more stimulating than eyeing a bunch of words on a book.
But if you’re not done giving up yet, here are some tips to help your child (and you!) enjoy reading.
1) Words are everywhere - not just in books!
Reading doesn’t have to be limited to just books. Got a new toy for your child? Read the instructions on the box with him. Going on a walk around the neighbourhood? Read aloud the directional signs showing where you’re heading. Bath time? Read out the words on the shampoo bottle.
This allows your child to understand that words are all around us and knowing what those words mean can actually make life a little more fun.
Bonus tip: Pointing to words using your index finger as you read along really helps your child to form a connection between the sounds you are making and the words you are reading, so that it doesn’t just seem like you are speaking gibberish!
2) Make books accessible
No, you do not need to fill an entire bookcase with fresh new books. In fact, research has shown that re-reading the same books can actually help a child build their vocabulary faster!
What is important however is to make sure that books are located somewhere your child can easily reach. Floor bookcases are a great idea to encourage our tiny humans to reach them whenever they feel like it. A book kept where they can reach and see is also a lot less daunting than books stored away in closed cupboards or kept high up in bookshelves.
We all know the shelf life (pun intended) of a book in the hands of toddlers is short-lived. It’s a great idea to build your collection through second-hand books to save on costs. Or, make frequent visits to the library a necessity! If that’s not possible (which I completely understand, having two kids under two, travelling can be a hassle), as mentioned above, make use of the words around you!
3) Lower your expectations
My eldest son’s first book was Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. It took two months of reading the same book almost every day before he actually managed to sit through the entire reading of the book from cover to cover. It was all of 18 pages.
He would either lose interest halfway, or ask me to skip pages and get to the fun part, or only be interested in fiddling with the ‘lift-the-flaps’. Maintain a reading routine but take the cue from your child. Let them lead, even if they want to just flip through or turn the book upside down. If they only sat through one page of reading, that’s already great! In my experience, books with interactive elements have helped my child sit through a reading longer than normal board books.
What challenges did you face to get your child reading and how did you get through them? I’d love to hear from you!