Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Read With That Child That Just WON'T Sit Still

In the ideal world children sit attentively on their parent's lap and listen with an eager ear as they are being read to. 

But...most likely if your child has recently gained some mobility by way of crawling or walking, sitting is the LAST thing on his or her mind.  In fact, you may not even get past the title page of a book.

So, what to do? 

Well, don't give up. 

Why?

Because children learn vocabulary through books more so than through TV or conversation!  And children with more advanced vocabularies in Kindergarten tend to fair better.

Every kid has his or her strengths and weaknesses.  If your child loves running, jumping, and climbing on walls, tables, and chairs - that's OK!  This may be his strength, which is a good thing! But, do try to find a way to fit in some time to read together.  Don't let his strength (or your frustration) become his weakness in reading readiness skills and language development.

Here are a few suggestions for reading with that child that just WON'T sit still:

1) Start slow....and work your way up.

If your child isn't necessarily interested in sitting for an entire story at first, then take baby steps.
  • you might want to let your child wander while you read.  Just because he's not sitting doesn't mean he's not listening.  When and if something warrants his attention, he'll likely wander back over to the book, which is a step in the right direction.
  • don't actually "read" the book.  Maybe you want to flip through the pictures at first.  Then maybe you'll want to paraphrase the story.  Then, maybe, just maybe, you'll want to try reading the words.  Chances are the more your child is exposed to a book, and the more familiar the pictures and characters become, the more likely he will be to sit and listen to the story.
2) Make reading time fun and interesting.

Yes, so bribe your child with a little razzle dazzle.  Here's how:
3) Capitalize on your child's least active moments of the day.

If your child is full of energy first thing in the morning, that may NOT be the opportune time to try to get him to sit still and listen to a book.  Here are two good suggestions:
  • When is the one time when your child is likely to be sitting?  At mealtime in his or her high chair.  Take advantage of this time and try to sneak in a short story before or after his meal. 
  • When is the other time when your child is likely to be less mobile?  At bedtime.  When your child is starting to get drowsy from all that running around all day long, try settling down with a story in bed.  Plus, there is evidence to show that bedtime routines that involve things like story time are great for language development.
And last but not least, be diligent and be a reader yourself.  The joy of reading will likely begin with you, your child's first and most important teacher!

1 comment:

  1. These are a great ideas. I have a four year old with some sensory issues and sometimes he simply can't sit still. On those occasions when we are reading and he wants to listen (but can't), I find play-doh is a big help. That sensory input while listening helps to calm him and he can enjoy our time a little more.

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