But my child doesn’t like books!
What happens when you’re keen for story time but your active toddler always seems to have other ideas? It’s pretty common. Some children embrace story time more than others and settling down for any form of relaxed, quiet time can seem downright impossible for others. But don’t lose heart – you can still add literacy building activities into everyday life – even with your little bundle of energy.
Try some of these ideas:
- The bath and the car are great times to sing songs and nursery rhymes. While this activity may not involve a book, regular singing helps build a love of words and sounds which all contribute to early literacy.
- Point out words wherever you go. They’re everywhere! Read the packaging at mealtime, take notice of the street signs and talk about all the words you can see at the shops.
Don’t give up on books – sometimes a few tweaks and changes can make a real difference
- Switch up story time with a different parent, carer or grandparent. Your child may respond differently depending on who is sharing the book.
- Involve your child in choosing books and flick through and look at the pictures together. You don’t need to read a story word for word or from start to finish to get the benefits.
- Keep a selection of books where your child can access them and let him or her explore them in any way they like. Encourage book sharing but don’t force it. Shared reading should be a positive experience for both of you.
- Borrow books from your local public library about things you do as part of your routine and pull them out to help transition between activities. This doesn’t have to be a long, dedicated story time but more a conversation starter or reference (eg. a book about food at meal time, a book about transport when travelling or a book about toys for play time). Talk about the differences and similarities between the book and what’s happening at home.
- Grab some real objects to help make the story more playful. Add a scarf to play peek a boo when sharing a story where children or characters hide or include a stuffed toy that’s featured in the story for your child to hold or make the sounds or actions. Share just a few pages or share a story during daily activities such as bath time. Children love to be a part of the story.
- Regularly attend a local library Story Time or Rhyme Time session. Your child may be more interested in walking around the room and exploring than singing and listening and that’s OK. Being part of the activity and seeing books being enjoyed by other children and families will reinforce the idea that books are fun.
- Start a routine at bedtime that includes a story by mouth, rhyme or song. A story by mouth could be one you remember reading when you were a child or a made up one about topics your child shows interest in.
Remember, a lot happens in the early childhood journey and we encourage families to engage children in a range of experiences and to keep trying!