Reading to Toddlers

When should you start reading to toddlers? Here are some tips and ideas to get started.

The other day a question popped up about when a parent should start reading to toddlers. I didn'’t wait for the toddler years to introduce books to my children, they had bath books from the time they could sit and play in the bath and board books in their cot for when they woke up.

In this article I want to share with you some great toddler books as well as why it is so important to make daily reading a habit for you and your little one.

Parenting tip; Reading To Toddlers

Reading to toddlers has so many benefits,but often these benefits are not seen until later on when your children start school or learning to read. They begin to desire the ability to unwrap the code that is contained in the written word. But it is never too late to start!

My children were read to from 6 months and as the toddler years came I would be delighted to see them head off to the potty with their favourite board book, or head to bed with a pile of books.

Having books in accessible places is also important, but choose your books carefully for durability. Start with allowing your young toddler full access to board and bath books by having them on the lower shelves. As they grow and learn how to handle books properly you can let them have access to paged books.

You and your toddler

Belonging to a library is an important part of reading to toddlers and your children’s preschool experience. Every week we would walk to our library and take out the maximum loan amount only to be devoured over and over again in the following 7 days.

Owning your own books and building up a childhood heirloom library is a special task. Unless a book is completely tattered I have never thrown one out. Their childhood libraries are there for their children to enjoy one day.

If you did not grow up in a reading home and don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing books for your toddler, I have lots of book suggestions on my website which come from our all time favourites when our children were younger.

Establish a reading time with your toddler. We used to have a few of these spread through the day including an early morning read, a story before nap time, a story while supper was cooking and one or two (or three) at bedtime.

Character building

Some toddlers can’t sit still. My two girls used to sit for ages and listen to stories when they were little tots, but my sons took a long time before they were able to sit and listen to a longer story.

It can be very frustrating for a mom when reading to toddlers as she has planned a reading time, only to find that her little one cannot sit still for more than a couple of minutes before they are up and off or grabbing for the book.

There is a lesson to be learnt here for both mom and toddler. For mom, be aware of not setting your expectations too high for your toddler, particularly if reading is something new to you both. Start gently with just one story at a time and allow your toddler to ease into this new activity.

At the same time you can tell your toddler what you expect from them. You can ask them to sit with you on the sofa with their favourite soft toy, give them a snack to nibble on as you read or join then on the floor while they play with construction toys.

For my one particularly active son, it was his special treat to turn the pages which held his attention a little longer.

Charlotte Mason, an 18th century educator made this statement: “ The teacher [parent] who allows his [her] scholars the freedom of the city of books is at liberty to be their guide, philosopher and friends; and is no longer the instrument of forcible intellectual feeding.” Philosophy of Education.

In the world of a toddler this may not seem as earth shattering to a mom, but as you open up the world of books to your toddler, you set them on a strong footing for their future learning, guaranteed.

For Moms

Mommies need to read too - but selectively when it comes to the piles of parenting books out there. There is a massive industry that feeds of parents and none more confusing that the parental guidance books.

I have put together a page of concise parenting book reviews for moms and dads to read. These are all from a Christian point of view and all are helpful in helping you establish your parenting boundaries.

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