Tips for Reading with Your Squirmy Toddler

by Elle McCann

Imagine enjoying read-aloud time with your baby. You envision yourself sitting peacefully with an attentive toddler with a book in hand, waiting to meet all the lovable characters and discovering new details in every lovely illustration. But, the reality is something else, you’re mostly confronted with a child who is squirming out of your lap, screaming, trying to rip or eat the pages, and bolting out the door at the first opportunity they find.  

We get the struggle, and we’d like to help. If you have a squirmy tot, consider these strategies to make book reading a fun experience for you and your sweet pea.




Pick what they love

If a kid shows interest in a topic, you will find plenty of books online or even at the local library on the same topic. For example, If your child shows interest in animals, buy them lots of farms and jungle-related books to actively draw their attention.


Colorful books are always a good idea

Whether it's searching for colorful pictures on each page or recognizing big numbers and letters, a book that is bold and colorful can help keep them engaged during storytime.

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Read to your toddler while they’re busy

Success with reading is mostly successful during unconventional times when your toddler is sitting in one place. Try reading a book while your child is in his high chair eating lunch or during tubby time. You could even create a spot for her to sit inside while you read such as a tippy tent with a stuffed toy and a little blanket to snuggle with.


Offer some distraction

Let squirmy worms settle in by giving them something to keep their little hands busy and their attention focused on a task. Fiddling with something like a squeezable ball or modeling clay can help curb the impulse to wiggle away.


Make the story exciting

Children love anything silly, especially when silly facial expressions and gestures come from mommy! Reading playfully can entice squirmiest littles to sit and listen. Be ready to wear all the different hats as you read a story: clap clap! stomp your feet! beep beep! sip sip! roar roar!  swish slosh! peek a boo! chomp chomp! kapow! 

Get in the act and have fun, your baby will love every bit of it.


All the best and happy reading!

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