Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Toddlers & Books

Last week we went to see a Health Visitor for Princess's 2 year check up.
She was happy to say that she thought Princess was quite forward for her age, especially since she can name colours and shapes.

She asked us if she could run, climb and jump.. As Princess climbed up a slide, slid down and raced back around to the steps.

She asked if she knew the correct names for people, such as: Mummy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandad etc. she does, including our first names too. She knows my name is Misty and Daddy's is Ross. She knows her own name. We told the HV she sometimes called her Daddy 'babe'. HV wasn't so happy about this and insisted I call Ross 'Daddy' from now on. No thank you. That's creepy.

She asked us if we read princess bed time stories. I said no.

*gasp* SHOCK HORROR! We are TERRIBLE parents.

Now I shouldn't have had to justify this to her, but the look she gave me made me feel I had to.

Princess simply just doesn't like books.

I have tried to read to her, at night, in the day, at home, on the bus. She's just not interested. In fact she has gone as far as to slam books closed on my fingers in order to get me to stop reading. She has screamed, cried and ran away.

Why would I force her to sit there and listen to me? I'm quite attached to my fingers thank you.

She's clearly quite clever for her age. Reading at the age of 2 is not the be all an end all of learning. She's proof of that.

So why do I feel so guilty?

She will often sit down by herself with a book and it looks like she is reading. sometimes it even sounds like she's trying to tell herself a story. Shouldn't that be enough?

Apparently not. Apparently I should be reading with her at bed time so she can get into a routine of bringing books home from school to read to me. In 3 years time.


I assumed it was because of the bonding time that was being spent together. The importance of hearing new words. Stimulation from a book with pictures etc etc. Not because I had to force her into a routine 3 years prior to it even being an issue.

I am not fobbing this Health Visitor off. I would love it if Princess read more. One of my favourite things to do is read and lose myself in a book, I hoped it would be something she too would enjoy. But I won't force her.

Forcing her to do something she clearly doesn't want to do can only lead to a negative association with books and I definitely don't want that.

So we will continue being that family that don't tell bed time stories and don't read to their child.

It's not neglect, it's respecting your toddler.

I will always buy her books and try and read with her, but I want it to be fun rather than a chore. I don't want to coerce her into something she doesn't want to do, but I will continue to show her that books can be fun.

So, if any of you other there have any tips or tricks to encourage your child to read - or listen when they're being read to! - share them here.

And remember, they cannot include strapping your toddler to the bed and reading to them - whether they like it or not! 

Just so there's no confusion - I am referring to reading TO her, not teaching her to read for herself. If she could do that then I'd be carting her off for genius-brain tests.


Amira Whyte said...

The last bit was funny xD xx

missypam said...

Blimey...shes only 2 give it time it will come. If she sees you reading your own books and enjoying then she is likely to as well....later!

The Mini Mes and Me said...

Forcing her to read now is more likely to put her off in the long run, I think you are doing the right thing by going at her pace.
I know you popped over and read my post on the personalised books (thankies for the comment!) and I really think this may help! x

Misty Bird said...

Yeah, I think it's more a case of her wanting to be read to than reading herself. Either way she doesn't enjoy it, but like you say, in time she very well might! Thanks for commenting!

Misty Bird said...

Me too.. especially as it's Peppa Pig! She's got a large selection of books but they mainly get ruined. I think we'll put it on the back burner for now. I don't expect her to read herself - obviously she's only 2 haha - I'm sure she'll enjoy listening to stories one day.
Thanks for commenting :) x

Misty Bird said...

Haha x

missypam said...

I found it a very interesting blog...actually never read one before :-\ I'm Pam by the way, knew your mum when we were small. I am Traceys cousin :-)

Misty Bird said...

Oohhh hello! Hope you enjoy other posts too. It's basically just a way for me to get out all of my random thoughts and/or worries really, but I love writing!

Rachel said...

I know it's easy to say, but I would leave it for now. As you point out, it's silly to force her. If she has a lot of books, I'd be tempted to put them all away, and just bring out a very small number of robust board books (maybe literally two or three) that are very tempting. Round here, that would mean Disney Princesses and Peppa Pig (weep).
Leave these out somewhere casually where she can see them. Then very occasionally, you could sit down yourself and announce that you are going to read a book. Don't invite her along, just sit in the same room, and read the book out loud to yourself.
Sometimes the allure of something you're doing is enough to attract a small person's attention! And even if she isn't tempted to come and sit by you to listen, she will see you reading, and understand that reading is a lovelly thing to do one day, and see that she can come and join in if she wants. Even if she's playing somewhere else and pretending not to listen, she may listen in anyway.
Hmmm. That all sounds v. sanctimonious. It's not meant to! I hope it's helpful. My overall opinion, for what it's worth, is that your instinct to back off is the right one. Nothing worse (or more pointless in the end) than a power struggle!

Anna said...

Ahhh the ever helpful advice from a HV... Rachel's advice is good, my son loves his In The Night Garden books, so much so that they only come out at night. He loves his books but apparently my husband hated reading until the age of 8, at which point people started having to wrench books off him. Swings and roundabouts :)

Misty Bird said...

They're all sound pieces of advice, thank you!
Like I said I'm very into books myself and will often read whilst she's around. The only thing she seems interested in is stopping me from reading. I've never read my own books aloud though so will definitely give that a try.
Thanks for your comment, I will definitely be trying these!

Misty Bird said...

Sounds like there's hope for her yet!
I thought it was ridiculous that she was advising me to implement a routine that we don't have to think about for another 3 years. It seems like everyone is just in a rush for their children to grow up, rather than just be children!
Thanks for the comment!

PS: Huge fan of your site!

pinkoddy said...

You obviously need more children as HV never give me advice like this anymore lol. Least they don't really bother you after the kids turn 2. Most kids and even adults are more online

Donna said...

Moo iv never read your blogs before and just read this one and the Halloween one! Lol your so good at this you should apply to do this for a job in a kids mag or something! I'm going to read more it's interesting and funny :) oh and no don't force her to read she will defo grow up to hate it they tell you in the first yr of school not to force home work or reading onto your child! She will listen to a book when she's ready xx