We recently added another new book to our children’s home library. Surprising, right? Haha! We love reading to our kids, but to say that they love to sit and attentively listen to the different stories, would be a stretch. Getting small children to sit still and focus on the story can be difficult to say the least, but I’ve found a few tried and true tips for reading to children that will work for any family!
~I received an advance copy of a new children’s book to help facilitate this post. This post also contains affiliate links, in which I will receive a small commission for your purchase. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
1. Wordless Picture Books
Many parents may find picture books boring, but it’s actually quite the opposite. When you offer your child a simple picture book, it gives them the freedom to make up the story, or to tell you what’s happening in the pictures. This is a great way to help grow their imagination.
You can even ask your child questions like:
- What’s happening in this picture?
- Why do you think that?
- What do you think will happen next?
2. Let Your Child Pick the Book
Kids are always going to judge a book by it’s cover. That’s their first impression of what the book is about, so having books displayed in a way that they can see the covers, will easily allow them to choose which one they may be interested in. By letting your child choose which book they want you to read, they’re more likely to stay tuned for the story.
3. Pick a Book Your Child Can Relate To
If you come across story time and your child doesn’t really seem interested in sitting down and picking out a book themselves, you can try picking out a story they can relate to. My kids don’t always want to sit down and read, but if I have one they can relate to, I can usually rope them into paying attention. That’s been exactly the case with their new book, Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash.
Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash is the story of a young boy, Benji, who has saved some banana squash seeds for months so that he can grow his own. When the ground is finally soft enough to plant the seeds, he gets right to it. Then he spends weeks and months watering, watching and waiting for something to happen.
Once the vegetable has finished it’s growing cycle, Benji has himself a whopping 24 pound banana squash. He proudly poses for a photo with his huge vegetable and then his parents cook up the banana squash for dinner.
This is the kind of story that resonates with my kids, as this was the first year we tried our hand at growing some vegetables in our own backyard. We started small, with just two tomato plants, but being able to nourish the plants for months, having them grow larger and produce tomatoes, and then being able to eat our little harvest, has been a fun experience for my kids.
They certainly didn’t have any 24 pound tomatoes, but it has still been fun for them to grow their own food. Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash is all about patience, love and perseverance, all of which are important lessons for kids. And gardening, whether one vegetable or many, is a great way to learn those lessons.
Even when not really in the mood to sit and listen to a book, my kids are still happy to hear the story of Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash. Think your child would enjoy it too? Scroll down and enter to win your own copy!
4. Try Short Stories
When you sit down to read to your child, it doesn’t have to be a super long story. Starting with short, simple stories will give your child a better chance of actually finishing the book. I’ve sat to read to my kids many times and only made it a few pages in because they get distracted and we never get to the end of the book. Shorter stories have helped solve this problem and we’re gradually working our way up to longer ones.
5. Use Fun Voices
Have you ever sat and listened to someone read aloud in a monotone voice? It can make even the best story, as boring as ever. When reading aloud, use fun voices to help your kids distinguish between the characters and to keep the story alive. Even as an adult, it’s important for me to imagine different characters speaking in different voices, accents and tones. The same applies to kids.
Do you do any of these when reading to your kids? What tips would you add?
Preorder Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash (available October 16, 2017)!
One lucky Making Time reader will win an advance copy of Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash! GOOD LUCK!
This giveaway is open to residents of the US, ages 18+ and ends on September 19, 2017 at 11:59 pm est. Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.