Last month, I shared with you all that we don’t have a strict routine of reading with our 15-month-old baby boy. While he gets plenty of social and verbal interaction in the home, between grandparents and an older brother and sister, we don’t consistently set reading time aside for him every single night. Being that our entire family are all avid readers, we really focused on becoming more consistent with a reading routine, as well as took advantage of opportunities throughout the day where some down time gave us a chance to sit and read. Well, after a month of consistency, I’ve realized something very important about this whole process — my baby doesn’t love story time, at least not yet.
Our family loves to read so much that we recently took family photos, centered around our favorite activity. You’ll notice that Daddy is having to occupy Hayden while I read.
To be fair, Hayden loves the idea of story time. We sit down in the rocker or on the floor, we thumb through his very full book shelf, and he enthusiastically picks out a book or two, or often times 10, and I start reading. I’ll get 2-3 sentences in the book, and he pushes it out of my hands and starts grunting for me to read the next one, as he shoves it in my lap. I put the first book aside, then start reading his second choice, until after 3-5 sentences he decides he’s ready to move on. He then shoves his next choice in my lap, and on and on the process goes.
I’ve taken stock, and the only book I can read to him from start to finish, is a four-page board book about Halloween, and that’s only because each page has four words, and I read them quite fast. The baby is just not interested in calmly sitting in my lap while I read to him. He instead seems more interested in playing games with the books, tossing them around, flipping through pages as fast as he can, and using them as push cars. It’s a completely different experience than my other two children, who at this age, would literally sit for an hour and let me read to them.
I haven’t and won’t give up hope yet though. While the constant back and forth with the book selections can get tiresome, I’ve been taking a different approach. While he sits on the floor playing with his blocks or cars or hammer toys, I’ve been picking up whichever book is near and reading to him. Even if he’s not sitting on my lap, intently looking at each picture, he’s still benefiting from hearing me read. After all, they say that just hearing me talk and read out loud, can help build vocabulary and understanding of the world around them. And even though he’s often times playing while I read to him, I know he’s paying attention based on his reactions when I say certain words which he recognizes, like dog and cat, as he makes the animal sounds when he hears me read them.
Sometimes the things we want to do to enrich our children’s lives don’t always end up exactly how we thought they would. I never thought I’d be having to chase down my son to read to him, yet here we are. If anything, it has forced me to be a bit more creative in my approach, and reminds me that once again, every child is different.
I’m sure that eventually Hayden will learn to love books and reading as much as the rest of us do, but in the meantime, I’ll keep chasing him down for story time.