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I am a huge fan of books and reading. When I was pregnant I read to my baby while still in the womb and after my son was born I included storytime into our night time routine. My son is now two years old and he has begun to really protest this part of our day.
I feel hurt because I find reading to him is such a special part of my day and I just don’t understand why he doesn’t seem to like being read to anymore. I know that reading to children is so important for their literacy development so I am worried that my son will be disadvantaged if he isn’t being read to enough.
Should I continue persisting with our night time story routine or follow his lead and let it go for now?
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No doubt, reading to kids plays an important role in developing their vocabulary and understanding. I have always encourage parents to develop a love of books in their children, but two year old is too young. It is difficult for him to stick to any specific daily routine.
When my kids were younger, I used to have picture books about animals, birds, dinosaurs, cars, feelings etc. These books were used to be in their toy basket and treated as toys. As they grew older, I introduced action pictures e.g. a boy washing face, a girl skipping rope, a man driving car, a woman cooking food etc. Gradually these books were replaced with story books. Kids were used to enjoy their books as they enjoyed their toy cars or dolls. This way I managed to develop a love for books in my kids. They were learning vocabulary and reading books without keeping a scheduled night time reading routine.
Try introducing such activities and take a break from a scheduled story time. He will learn to enjoy reading as he grows older.
I think that at this age, the need to push back on any activity that kids feel they are not leading themselves can be quite common. My 2 year old is very similar and while I love reading with her too, some nights she just wants me to lie next to her to fall asleep instead of our usual reading routine.
Instead, I've started to leave a box full of books in the lounge room, bedroom and play area so that she can pull out a book when she feels like it throughout the day and bring it to me. I've found this works a lot better when she has control over when we do the reading! We might just have to wait out this phase until they are ready for bedtime reading again.
I used to read to my two boys at night and it's sad that they are kind of growing out of it! But instead, we play games and find other times to read together.
I agree that it might be hard for him to sit still at this age. Could you find another time to read to him? Maybe during breakfast, dinner, or bath time?
We have also loved finding "story walks" in our community. The library would be a good place to ask to see if there are any around you. It's basically a short walking trail and every few steps there is a different page to a story.
Some of my grandsons went through this phase at ages 2 and 3. I think that some little boys at this age may just be too active to sit for an extended period of reading time. Perhaps find funny books with big pictures that catch his attention and then keep the reading time to 2-3 minutes. That's about as long as his attention span is at this age.
If that does not work, then take a break and see how the reading goes in a few months. I can report that all of my grandsons now enjoy this special time with their parents (and grandparents) once again.