I've gotten used to reading to my son every night during our bedtime ritual, but now things have gotten much more challenging. Whenever I pick up a book, he immediately grabs it from my hands and starts flipping the pages (in both direction) before eventually just slamming it shut. Sometimes I try to distract him by giving him another book to hold, and then while he's playing with it I take another book and start reading out loud -- but after a page or two, he puts down his book and grabs mine! It has made it impossible to read to him!
Do you have any advice? Of course, I know that this is a brave new stage in his life, and that it's very normal for toddlers to do this, and that lots of parents deal with it. But I don't know how to do it. I've heard that some people just make up their own story based on the pictures, or simply skip ahead (or backwards) as the child flips the pages. But he closes the books pretty frequently and flips them over and then tosses them aside and reaches for another one. Plus, since I'm the primary source of minority language exposure, I have really valued the opportunity to read him well-crafted stories every night, but if I just start pointing and naming pictures or skipping ahead or backwards to keep up with his page-flipping, then that sacrifices the quality of the story.
My little one is 15 months and does this, too. Flipping pages seems to be quite exciting. But she doesn't always do it, it just depends on the mood she is in. I try to read to her at different times throughout the day and definitely when she is my captive audience during a meal. Even then she doesn't always listen.
Sam, you might try giving him more tactile books or other appealing objects/toys while you read to him. Perhaps this would help focus his attention away from the book in your hands.
Seating him in a highchair, as Heidi suggested, also creates more controlled "captive conditions" for easier reading. I recall doing this with my own kids.
Meanwhile, keep in mind that this stage should be relatively short-lived and if you can simply persevere past it--with some trial-and-error in your efforts to make the most of a challenging time--then I expect you'll reach calmer waters before too long.
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
As you state yourself, this is probably just a phase, and you WILL eventually get back to reading stories to him.
In the meantime focus on what is really important: spending time together and communicating. Perhaps instead of trying to make it a story, just talk about the book and what he is doing. Ask him what he finds interesting, which page he likes best and so on.
Another idea is to draw pictures to a story yourself and let him watch while you tell the story to the drawing. Many children find it really interesting to watch others create recognizable images.
Further interactions could be finger games, lap bounces and interactive songs and rhymes.
While reading is great, communicating is more important. And once this phase passes, you can always re-establish a reading routine.
Mayken: My 7-year-old, her ML dad and a ml family are going to the Christmas market at a ml school today - and I can't go with them! (Hope that ML dad's presence doesn't stop the kids from speaking ml together.)
Dec 2, 2017 22:12:04 GMT 9
Amy: I'm sure the language balance is heavily in favour of the ml. Don't you worry Mayken. And it's also good that your daughter sees that the ml exists beyond the Mummy sphere. It will give more weight to the ml to hear from another sphere.
Dec 2, 2017 22:51:42 GMT 9
Mayken: In the end, it was my daughter with ML dad and the other girl with ML mom (but who's fluent in ml). The other girl got tired of ml after a while but my girl chatted with people in ml and bought ml books and a snack, all in ml!
Dec 5, 2017 0:29:57 GMT 9
Amy: Not so bad after all then, Mayken
Dec 5, 2017 6:27:24 GMT 9
Mayken: Not bad at all, I just regret I wasn't there with them.
Dec 6, 2017 6:11:36 GMT 9
Amy: As the French have it Mayken: "ce n'est que partie remise!"
Dec 6, 2017 18:47:06 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter wrote her letter to Santa in the ml this weekend, and we'll send it to Santa's address in the ml country, that way she'll get an ml letter back from him! Last item on her wishlist reads "The second Harry Potter book, and more books."
Dec 11, 2017 23:59:38 GMT 9
Adam Beck: More books is always good!
Dec 12, 2017 8:15:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: For Christmas: The Most Beautiful Video You Might Ever See About a Bilingual Familybuff.ly/2nI2yrE
Dec 12, 2017 8:16:04 GMT 9