Tips For Reading To Your Child
We are excited to share with you a few tips for reading to your child. Reading to your child is one of the most fundamental tools you have at home. Reading to them opens up doors in many different directions, literacy, personality, growth mindset, your relationship with them, and many others. The downside? Well sometimes your kids want to play instead of be read to, other times they want to hear the same story a million times. Setting up a foundation where reading is a part of your child’s life helps them out in the long run, you just have to know how to go about it.
Telling a four year old to focus is like telling a broom to mop. It’s just not what the broom was made to do. It is not fully equipped to do the job, nor able to handle what the job entails. Children are not made to sit still! Their job during this season in life is to learn, grow and explore the world around them.
Reading helps in this process, of course, but expecting your child to listen to a story that does not engage them is just asking too much. Just like with anything else, children need to build up stamina in reading. This makes your job of reading to them even more important. Listening to a story takes practice. Don’t throw in the towel if they won’t engage you long the first time. Maybe tonight you make it through two pages but tomorrow you make it through four.
When a child hears a story but for the first time, it seems to be a hit or miss with whether they decide to stay tuned. Sometimes you will find that great story that has them piqued from the cover, other times, they will start searching the walls for something more interesting. This is a battle on its own. The bigger issue here is not just choosing the right book, but the right time to read.
Providing a Routine
If reading time is a struggle, it, like everything else, will work best once you have a routine set up. It does not have to follow the “Bath, Book, Bed” regimen, although with many toddlers that method works best. It’s all about expectations. When they expect to watch TV until they fall asleep, it is really hard to convince them that there is an alternative. When your child expects to be read to, they feel exactly the same way if they are sent to bed with no book. They will look at you like you have sprouted a horn. The routine could be after dinner, before dinner, when they wake up on the morning. Anytime can work as long as it is consistent.
Choosing the Right Book
Now, as far as choosing the right book, self-choice does go a long way. Taking your child to a public library is a great way to expose them to a multitude of books, and much opportunity to choose. Let them take ownership and offer them time to choose. This will reap the most benefit in the long-run. If your child chose the book, at best they judged it by its cover or pictures and deemed it potentially satisfying. At worst, you can remind them that they choose it, and use any push back as a teachable moment in perseverance.
If you set the expectation that they can just toss the book to the side the moment they change their mind, they may never finish a book. Later on in their school career, they may be given a choice of books they’ve never heard of to read for their literature circles. Once they choose a book for the unit, they really have little room to change it two weeks later, or they will fall drastically behind in their curriculum milestones. So, stick with allowing them the choice but support them in giving the book a chance once they do. And yes, this may mean that you have to read the same book one million times. The most important thing is to instill a love for books and reading.
A Growing Series
Those are just a few tips for reading to your child but we will be back with more. We cannot stress enough the importance of reading to your child every day. You are their most important and valuable teacher. The time you invest in reading with them lays a foundation for the rest of their life. We have more tips for reading to your child coming soon so stay tuned. In the meantime, head to the library or a book store and pick out a book. It’s never to late to become your child’s best storyteller. Happy reading!