I feel like there is no end to the instructions to read to your child from the moment they are born (or even BEFORE they are born), but that can seem overwhelming when you're confronted with a baby who squirms in your lap or tries to rip or eat the pages.
Probably because of all this pressure to read to your baby, I get a lot of emails about how to read to tiny children.
I won't lie - I prefer it when they grow up enough to read longer picture books and I no longer have to both read and play book protection defense at the same time, but over the last five years of reading with a baby, I've picked up some tricks.
If you're looking for ways to read to your baby that doesn't want to sit still, try one of these suggestions:
- Lay on the floor. When my babies are really little and aren't stable enough to sit on my lap while I hold a book, I like to lay next to them on the floor. Both of my girls have been entranced with the pages above them (this also reminds me daily that my arms are very weak because I can only read about 3 books before they are killing me).
- Don't worry about finishing the book. This kind of goes against my internal reader, but if my baby loses interest in a book, I try to be okay about just quitting part way through and trying again with a new book either right then or later. It's more important that they enjoy reading than that we finish a specific book.
- Let them turn the pages. It's hard for me to let go and allow my girls to turn the pages (especially when they flip the pages before I'm done reading), but they love to be involved and, let's be honest - after a few months of parenthood, you know every word of Pajama Time! without looking at the pages.
- Read aloud while they crawl around. If Star is too restless to sit on my lap, I like to read aloud to her while she crawls or wanders around. Listening to books is a great skill to help them develop.
For more great tips to help you read to your squirmy little ones, check out the rest of this article from our friends at Everyday Reading.