At the library, I hear lots of parents of little ones lamenting about the fact that their kids will not sit still for stories—not even just one. Though this must be frustrating for parents who are eager to pass along a love of books to their kids, it does not mean that their kids are wild, disinterested, destined to be reading failures, or any of the million other conclusions that discouraged parents might consider. The truth is that kids, especially babies and toddlers, have really short attention spans. That’s just how they’re wired. It’s completely normal for them to want to be up and dancing around, rather than nestled sweetly into our laps for a story.
If you’ve ever joined us for one of our Baby or Toddler Storytimes, you’re a firsthand witness to the fact that these little humans are not able to sit for a long period of time. That’s why we do all of the songs, fingerplays, and dancing that we do; it’s a necessity! We also understand that when we’re reading, kids are going to be walking/crawling around and not seeming to be paying a bit of attention to us. And that’s perfectly acceptable!
If you happen to have one of those normal kids who doesn’t want to sit still for a book, read one anyway. You’ll be surprised at how much your children will get from the book, even when they’re playing across the room and appear to be completely tuning you out. Another great way to develop an affinity for books is to just keep them everywhere—in the toy box, on the bookshelf (The best is one that’s accessible to little hands and where you keep some books face-out, so kids are drawn to the pictures on the covers.), in the diaper bag, in their car seat, etc.
Finally, don’t worry! I know it’s easier said than done, but if you’re exposing your children to books often, you’re doing them a world of good. You may not be seeing the fruits of your labor now, but you will…eventually!