When Jackson was a baby, he used to carry around a tiny red board book about trucks. He took it everywhere — even to bed!!! Janice had to go out and buy two extra copies in preparation for the inevitable — a misplaced book with nap time looming.
And toddler Julia’s favorite book is called “First Steps in Prayer” — but not for the reasons that you’d hope. She is drawn to this book because of a picture of a little boy who has fallen off of his trike and has an ‘owie’ (how do you spell that?) and the little girl who is helping him.
Julia is mesmerized with this scene as she loves trikes and is intrigued that this little boy has fallen off his and now has a tear in his eye. She loves the idea that the little girl (we say his cousin) is helping him feel better.
The thought of reading to a baby or toddler may bring to your mind nice relaxing images of cozy snuggle time sharing a great tale together — or it might remind you of page-tearing or book-tossing or any other rather realistic toddler book experiencing scenario.
Personally, for the last couple of months, many of our attempts at story time with Julia have played out like this — she takes stacks of books off the shelf, we sit on the couch, open one, look at one page, she announces “Done” and we move on to the next.
But thankfully, in the last couple of weeks, she has really begun to enjoy longer story times where we actually read entire (very short) books.
I have to admit, I have have felt like a bit of a failure when it comes to Julia’s attention span and interest in books.
Until, I picked up this new book – “Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos — A Guide to Choosing, Reading and Loving Books Together“.
I just wish I had found it earlier. (This book would be such a perfect baby shower gift for an expecting mom.)
It’s an unbeatable resource of books to choose and how to have the most fun sharing stories with your tiny tots. One of the aspects I like the best is how honest and realistic the authors are about how babies and toddlers enjoy books — it isn’t always the same way we enjoy books. It’s really helping me to realize that just because Julia doesn’t always sit still to read a full book, she is still experiencing and having fun with the books. And that’s what matters.
The authors explain:
“What you may perceive as “problems” with the reading experience are actually stages of development. Sitting babies are going to grab the book, fall on the book, roll on the book, and drop the book. Crawlers are going to crawl away, crawl back, crawl away, crawl back. From the baby’s perspective, this couldn’t be better!”
And the authors include helpful suggestions:
Make books part of the fun. Spread out a few for her to crawl or roll to while you sit and read from one. Choose books that focus on single objects so that you can show her ball and dog. Try sitting across from each other and handing books back and forth or just handing them to baby.”
Some of the best parts of the book are the real-life experiences and top-ten lists pulled from the book shelves of living, breathing, book-chewing babies and toddlers.
I’m so excited to start trying out some of the suggested titles. Now, instead of just picking up whatever books I find on sale, I can look for certain titles that I know will be great hits.
So let’s share some of that same can’t-be-beat life experience here…
What was (or is) it like reading to your baby or toddler? Does he/she sit for the story or run around? What ways did you make books fun? What were (or are) their favorites?