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.
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Amy: Right you are Mayken!
Mar 28, 2018 1:43:20 GMT 9
Marisa: Way to go, Mayken! That's the (bilingual) spirit
Mar 29, 2018 0:55:54 GMT 9
Kristin T.: Will check out your podcast interview on my next run!
Mar 30, 2018 23:24:37 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter brought home her ml report card (she gets a separate one from the regular report card at her bilingual school), and it's straight A's! (Better than her marks in ML on the main report card.) I'm so proud!!!
Mar 31, 2018 6:10:44 GMT 9
Amy: Gratuliere (Congratulations) Mayken!!
Mar 31, 2018 16:54:17 GMT 9
Mayken: Thank you, Amy! As a reward, we allowed her to purchase a big item from her Christmas money--a Playmobil house, with which she now plays in ml!
Apr 4, 2018 3:37:31 GMT 9
Amy: Reward all the way round . Bilingual education can be a virtuous circle
Apr 4, 2018 5:26:18 GMT 9
Nellie: What great news, Mayken!
Apr 5, 2018 4:36:26 GMT 9
Raquel: I totally missed this. Congratulations, Mayken!! You have reason to be proud
Apr 10, 2018 20:08:02 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks everyone! Today my daughter helped a classmate finish her ml homework just before school - all in ml. (My daughter had finished hers the day before at home.)
Apr 11, 2018 3:58:56 GMT 9
Raquel: I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's passing, Adam. She sounds like an amazing woman. Sending you a big hug from Madrid.
Apr 12, 2018 18:16:38 GMT 9
Marie: I am sorry to hear about your mother Adam. Thinking of you and your family.
Apr 13, 2018 4:25:21 GMT 9
Jana: What a beautiful tribute you wrote to your mother. Sending condolences from the SF Bay Area!
Apr 14, 2018 5:34:03 GMT 9
Kristin T.: I enjoyed reading your post about your mother. Those were some amazing photos to cherish forever. I am sorry for your loss. I know it's ever the more painful having been an expat so long. Take care & be kind to yourself.
Apr 16, 2018 2:24:35 GMT 9
Nellie: I'm so sorry to read about your mother Adam. She sounds like an incredible woman. Your friends across the world are thinking of you and your family!
Apr 17, 2018 0:50:25 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Thank you, everyone, for your warm expressions of sympathy on the loss of my mother. Your friendship and support has meant a lot to me at this challenging time.
Apr 17, 2018 7:44:14 GMT 9