Kids at any age can develop a love of books. Just like us, it's simply a case of finding out what they're interested in. Books take them to another world, growing their knowledge and letting their imagination run wild. But what do you do if books have already been labelled 'boring'? These are our tried and tested tips to add fun back into reading time.
1. Start them young
You can encourage books at any age. I've been reading to my son since he was 4 months old. I've always found it to be nice, quiet time in between the chaos of milestones, sleep (or lack of), weaning... He's 13 months old now and we read about 10 books a day, or rather the same book 10 times over!
2. Choices, choices, choices
I am not into historical biographies. Even if you gave me a mountain-of-chocolate bribe, I wouldn't enjoy them. So put yourself in your child's shoes and let them decide what they'd like to read. There is so much choice nowadays. Perhaps they'd like adventure stories, humorous stories, or to pour over hundreds of dinosaur facts.
3. Choose the right time
Trying to encourage reading when their favourite tv programme is on or when they're excited about going out somewhere is unlikely to work. Pre-bedtime works well because they're calmer, hopefully, and reading a book can be seen as a treat if they're allowed to choose the book and maybe even stay up a little longer to enjoy it.
This may not be suitable for older children who would rather read independently, but there's nothing like sharing a good story with your young child. They are likely to be enraptured as you take them into an unknown world where their imagination does the work. Use special voices, and add fun and excitement into your voice (even the most avid reader may doze off listening to monotonous drone!) – you may feel embarrassed to begin with, but you'll soon get into the swing of it. It can be hard to find 10 minutes for shared reading, but it's well worth the effort.
5. Set an example
Now this is a toughie when you barely have time to think in a busy work-child-home-filled day, but if your child sees that you enjoy reading, they may copy you to feel grown-up and it'll be less of a chore to them.
6. Have a screen-time break
We nearly all stare at screens for umpteen hours a day; fact. This is unlikely to change much. Try not to create a battle between screen and book, or offer screen-time as a reward for reading (instantly making reading seem like the broccoli in this scenario). Instead, impose a time when screens need to be put away or a daily screen-time limit, and build a fantastic library to entice them. You could use your local library, swap books with their friends or make use of your local bookshop – or your friendly online bookshop, of course!
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