Reading Books With Your Toddler

Reading books with your toddlers should be an enjoyable experience. However, sometimes it’s difficult to fully engage an active toddler.

Chitchatting and Reading with Your Toddler

If this is the case, try following these tips.

First, determine if you’ve selected the appropriate book. My previous post  Types of Books to Improve Your Toddler’s Language gives some suggestions on how to choose appropriate books for toddlers.

Next, read my short suggestions below:

Tips on Reading to Your Child

  • First and foremost – Don’t ask too many questions! Try to refrain from being in constant test mode. Asking your child what’s this and what’s that is not fun. Encourage a natural and easy exchange.
  • Take your time. Doing so gives your child a chance to process the auditory information and connect it with the pictures.
  • Be animated and make it fun! Read with inflection.  If there are different characters, then make different voices. If there are animals, then make the animal noises.
  • Pause and wait for your child to say something. My rule of thumb is to count 5 Mississippi before bombarding him or her with another comment or question.
  • Positively reinforce attempts to communicate (Child: “Cat.” Adult: That’s right, it’s a big cat!”.)
  • Provide a relaxed environment for reading. Turn off the television, put your cell phone in another room, limit distractions and background noise.
  • Think having a conversation. Turn reading into chitchatting! Take turns pointing to pictures, making comments, and being silly.
  • Change up where and when you read books to your toddler. Books don’t always have to be associated with bedtime or naptime.

In this picture, my son and daughter are snacking on edamame as we read together at the dinner table. Doing something like this works great when you have a busy toddler who can’t sit still for too long or is not seemingly interested in reading books. Reading a book while they are in the bathtub is another option. How do you read to your toddler?

Kimberly Scanlon, M.A. CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist, an author and a mother. As the owner of Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC, a unique boutique practice in Bergen County, Kimberly embraces individuality and treats the whole person. Her goal is to spread compassion, hope, and some speech, language and literacy tips one moment, one person at a time.  Her first book, My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development and her her second book, Learning to Read is a Ball are available for purchase at online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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