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.
Amy: Just received your novel Adam, just in time for the weekend! I already read 3 chapters and am loving the style! Congrats!
Feb 10, 2018 6:25:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: That's so nice to hear, Amy! I look forward to more impressions as you continue reading!
Feb 10, 2018 10:46:14 GMT 9
Mayken: After writing a letter in the ML to her new friend for whom it is the ml, my daughter is now on the phone with her friend from ml country. (And hiding in her room with my phone. No more phone cords to hold her back.)
Feb 11, 2018 23:13:29 GMT 9
Nellie: Book ordered Adam!
Feb 15, 2018 6:20:36 GMT 9
Nellie: Mayken - so cute! The terrible teens are approaching!
Feb 15, 2018 6:21:21 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nellie, thank you! I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your impressions!
Feb 15, 2018 6:34:04 GMT 9
Wojtek: I found sample Eiken tests on grade 5 and 4 (There was Adam's article) and did the first part with my daughter (20 questions). On Grade 5 she did 16 of 20 correctly and on grade 4: 12 of 20. Not so bad though. She failed those where grammar was included.
Feb 15, 2018 20:43:25 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, your daughter is still very young so I would say those are really positive results! Your efforts are clearly producing a lot of progress. Good for you, and good for your daughter!
Feb 16, 2018 7:52:23 GMT 9
Undraa: A big congrats from my end to you for your new book Adam!
Feb 16, 2018 16:50:56 GMT 9
Wojtek: Big thanks, Adam. Those tests on grade 5 are so basic but anyway they prove that my girl understands them and knows the answers. That was quite interesting experience.
Feb 16, 2018 16:54:32 GMT 9
Wojtek: Congratulations on your book, Adam! I read the beginning on Amazon and as always I have the impression you took several pages from the dictionary with a range of sophisticated words and just put them in. That's why the book will be very valuable for me.
Feb 16, 2018 17:01:19 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, thanks! Even if you're unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary, I think the lively story will carry you through the book. I hope you enjoy it, and also find it useful for your English!
Feb 16, 2018 18:43:12 GMT 9
Dani: Hi everyone, It has been a while... Congrats on your new book Adam! Would love to get a copy too.
Feb 17, 2018 8:30:36 GMT 9