Young children are on the go from the moment they wake up until they collapse at naptime. Crawling, toddling around, reaching, grasping, and chewing on everything is the norm. How can quiet book times fit into such a busy life? If you choose your read-aloud times and books strategically and you can include lots of words and stories into your young child’s day.
Tips for sharing books and words with your wiggly one:
- Give your child a small toy to hold on to while you read (or one for each hand). It’s a simple thing to do and it really helps!
- Make the read-aloud experience full of activity by asking questions and pointing out details. You can put your finger on and count objects in the pictures, do the actions that are in the story you are reading, or point out objects in the book and say “What‘s this called?”
- Before sitting down to share a book, do something physical with your child like having bath time, playing with toys, or trying to chase ducks at the park. After all that activity, your child will be more ready to sit down and relax.
- Read books that are short, that match the length of your child’s attention span.
- If your child isn’t able to sit down and focus, leave the books and just talk about what you are doing, tell stories or rhymes, or sing songs.
- Make a habit of reading aloud when your child is naturally less active before nap or bedtime. By making it a routine, your child will come to expect and enjoy hearing books at those times.
- If your child obviously isn’t in the mood to sit still or doesn’t have interest in the book you are reading, try a different time to read or a different book.
Always keep reading together fun and something your child looks forward to doing with you. Recommended books for active young children:
- Full of Action: “Ten Little Fingers,” “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” are board books published by Child’s Play, that are familiar children’s songs. Most of us grew up knowing the motions that go with these rhymes. Continue the tradition by teaching your child your favorites. Annie Kubler illustrates these board books with her whimsical, round-headed children depicting a multitude of ethnicities.
- Short Text: “Tickle, Tickle,” “All Fall Down” and “Say Goodnight” are all short board books with few words and lots of action. Written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, these books are just right for a young child with a short attention span. They aren’t stories with a beginning and end, but rather a series of actions that your child will recognize.
- Rhyming and Word Fun: “Maybe My Baby” by Irene O’Book with photos of babies by Paula Hible has a bouncy text and some words that may be new to your child. Another great rhyming book is “Peek-a Who?” by Nina Laden. The pictures are boldly colored and the text brief with cut out holes that give a peek at what comes next. Your child may giggle at the silly, repetitive sounds.