Tips for Parents: Reading Aloud to Children Who Won’t Sit Still

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Mom and daughter reading a book in the parkReading aloud to your children is extremely important to their early development. Reading together is not only a great opportunity for bonding, but also provides many benefits, such as improved cognitive skills and language development, which play a great role in a child’s future success. As important as this is, many parents get frustrated trying to get their child to sit still long enough to finish a book causing reading to get pushed to the side. These simple strategies will help ease your frustration and, before you know it, reading time will be something you both look forward to.

Set a routine : Trying to get your child to settle down when they want to play is never easy. Find a time when he is most calm, maybe after nap or at bedtime, and set this as a time to read every day.

Take advantage of opportunities : Read during mealtime, bath time, and car trips when your child is already sitting still. Audio books can be great in these situations when you may not be able to read yourself.

Read anything and everything : There are words everywhere… help build his vocabulary by pointing out the words on street signs, food labels, movie titles, etc.

Start small : Start with books that are short and simple. Don’t be afraid to skip ahead if your child is getting antsy. You don’t necessarily have to read every page word for word to tell the story. Take it one step at a time and work your way up as her attention span and interest increases.

Be positive : Set a good example and encourage a positive attitude about reading by showing her it’s something you enjoy. Don’t force her to sit still and pay attention if she’s not ready, this will make it feel like a punishment and cause negative feelings.

Encourage involvement : Keep him involved by asking questions such as “Can you find the ball? What color is the ball?” Interactive books with songs, rhymes, and textures are also a great way to keep him interested.

Give her something to play with : She might be more willing to sit still if she has something to keep her hands busy. Allow her to play with quiet toys such as crayons, puzzles, or blocks to keep her occupied.

Utilize his interests : Read books about his favorite animals, characters, sports, etc. Hearing you mention something he loves will attract his attention.

Have fun! : Teach her that reading is fun. Don’t be afraid to act silly! Use funny voices, sing songs, make up silly stories about the characters in the books and act them out. This will encourage excitement and help build creativity and imagination.

Don’t give up : Just because your child isn’t sitting still doesn’t mean he’s not listening. He may come over to look at the pictures every once in a while, he may not. Keep reading. He probably enjoys it more than you know!

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