Sharing stories with active toddlers

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Reading stories with active toddlers can sometimes be like herding cats. No matter what you try, they just can't stay still! Don’t stress if your little one won’t sit down while you read a story together: this is perfectly normal as toddlers have a very short attention span.

Take the time to read the story even if your toddler isn't sitting beside you. They are still listening, observing and taking everything in and getting all the benefits from hearing the words and spending time with you. Remember, you don’t have to read all of the story in one sitting. You can just read a couple of pages or even talk about the pictures.

Make a routine of sharing books with your toddler during the day, or as you prepare for bed. Sharing stories together regularly not only strengthens your connection with them but boosts your little one’s language development.

Toddlers are often independent and like to do things for themselves so try and involve them in the story. Let them choose the book, ask questions or get them to turn the page. Most importantly reading together is meant to be fun.

Tips to try while reading with toddlers:

  • Don’t expect them to sit still: they’re still engaged while they’re moving about.
  • Read with your little one when they are well rested.
  • Choose interactive and engaging books with great illustrations.
  • Nursery rhymes can help re-engage a toddler’s interest with actions.
  • Involve your toddler in the story.
  • Try a lift-a-flap book! Toddlers love them.
  • Keep it short. Maybe share a book over a couple of sessions during the day.

Great toddler-friendly books:

  • Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
  • Moo by Alison Lester
  • The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
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