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 popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
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 daughter's ml homework for this week included baking a cake - there's a cake in the story they read, and after each chapter there are questions and tasks, and the current chapter has the step-by-step recipe. She's to bring the cake to school too.
May 1, 2018 23:48:48 GMT 9
Amy: What a nice original homework! Makes such a change from standard homework, and I wouldn't be surprised if kids remember more from it! I like your bilingual school Mayken! Lucky little girl, and lucky Mummy!
May 2, 2018 0:00:43 GMT 9
Mayken: ml cake homework update: About half the class brought cake (8 out of 15), not all of them were the cake from the book recipe, but my daughter's was the most popular. (Maybe because we added food colouring and topped it with chocolate icing and smarties?)
May 4, 2018 5:58:10 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Cake is definitely my favorite kind of homework!
May 4, 2018 11:28:51 GMT 9
Jana: One of the best parts of having kids in bilingual school was getting Mother's Day cards in two languages! (With less-than-perfect spelling in both!) Ha!
May 15, 2018 9:16:08 GMT 9
Amy: (Twice) Lucky you Jana! So nice to read exciting pieces of news like yours!
May 16, 2018 5:46:25 GMT 9
Mayken: I still have that to look forward to, Jana! Mother's Day in our ML country is two weeks later, and the ml teacher goes along with that date. (It was last Sunday in our ml country.)
May 16, 2018 5:58:11 GMT 9