After we shared those wonderful stories together, my 22-month-old daughter, Jada, ran to her brother’s room to get more books (they are easier to reach than the books in her room). My son followed her, and they both returned with three more books. In that moment, I realized that I was doing a pretty decent job raising kids who will love to read.
Helping your little ones develop a love for reading at an early age is important. If they begin to value books when they are just babies, they are more likely to appreciate the magic of reading as they grow up.
Here are 7 tips that can help you raise kids who will love to read.
- Start reading to them at an early age. You can begin reading to your little one when they are in the womb, but don’t worry if you didn’t start that early. Begin reading to them when they are just a few weeks old. It helps with their language development, and introduces them to books very early in their lives.
- Give them space. Don’t pressure your kids. My 22-month-old just starting sitting through books. Until recently, she would often get distracted before the book was over. That’s okay, though. It’s not about finishing the book. If your pressure your kids to finish a book or to read something they don’t want, it starts to negatively impact how they feel about books.
- Surround them with books. Try to give them options at an early age and let them choose what they want to read. If they grow up with books in their space, they will realize that you place a high value on reading.
- Visit the library often. Library visits are fun for the kids, and it’s a great way to add new books to the mix without spending any money. Many libraries also offer free story times and they often end with craft projects connected to the theme of the book.
- Create stories with them. I make up stories when I am laying in the bed with my kids in the dark. They love it. Doing so can help appreciate the value of storytelling and it helps them realize that reading books gives them that same imaginative experience.
- Be spontaneous. It’s great to have a routine, so reading to your kids every night is a wonderful option. Just don’t let that be the only time your read to them. Be spontaneous and read to them in any place, at any time.
- Pay attention to their interests. As you know, what your child is interested in changes daily. Of course babies need books about things like colors, animals, and shapes, but they also benefit from books about things that they happen to be interested in at the moment. My daughter is currently into cows, so we read a lot of books that give her the chance to say, “moo!”