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Reading to a Restless Toddler

Keep reading with toddlers, even when they have trouble sitting still.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Attention and Focus
Reading
Cooperation

Some children have very high activity levels. Indeed, when a child keeps on having difficulties sitting still in class in elementary school, teachers often become worried. While your child is still a toddler, it is not clear that she will always have this very high activity level. Try these tips to keep her still for story time:

  • Work around her energy requirements. Take her for walks in the park. Be sure you let her run around a lot, even at home.
     
  • Make sure she is well fed and has had lots of opportunity to use up energy. Lure her to a cozy couch and pile the books you may choose from to arouse her interest. Choose books with few pages at first. Then when you finish reading a book with her, you can close the cover and exclaim with pleasure, "We read a whole book together!"
     
  • Find out what your child's special interests are. Some toddlers love animals. Some love dinosaurs. Some love trucks, trains, buses, and cars. Find books with large colorful pictures that you know will capture your child's interest.
     
  • Don't worry about reading just what is in the book. Use varied voice tones and excitement in your voice to focus your energetic child's interest as you describe and explain about the pictures. If your child comments or points, let her talk in the middle of your book reading (or book sharing). As you engage her animated interest in books, she will be far more willing and even enthusiastic to come and settle in for her special reading times with you.

The Reading Toolkit