Baby L loves her bedtime stories - but it wasn't always that way. From about 6 months old to 9 months old she went through a phase where she rolled around, pulled at my clothes, grabbed at anything nearby, and would just glance over her shoulder when I turned a page. Daddy B and I persisted though, and continued to read bedtime stories for every nap time and bedtime and our consistency, we think, has won her over! She's a huge fan of the bedtime story now! She snuggles in and helps turn pages, and points to parts of the picture, sometimes even "talking" about the pictures. When L talks, she gets the main sound of a word, like "tsss" for "necklace." If it's an animal she'll imitate the sound that it makes. Like "ack ack" for "duck/quack" or "ooo ooo" for owl (which she also says for "towel" - pretty cute).
Here are a few tips that my teacher and mommy friends have given me, to help out with bedtime stories. I've tested these out, and they work!
1. Find a quiet place. Turn off the radio, and the television. Close the door or do whatever you need to do to find a quiet spot to snuggle up and read a few books.
2. Be patient. Your child might not be a fan of bedtime stories tonight, but kids change quickly. Try to be consistent and read at least a few pages each night. You'll eventually establish a routine that will foster a love of books for the rest of your child's life!
3. Have fun! Use silly voices, gestures, tap the pictures with your fingers. Be goofy!
4. Try reading aloud books in themes. Reading books that connect by topic or by character is fun for kids. They love noticing when something is the same from one book to another. Baby L loves books that have animals in them. It's so exciting for her when we read her Baby Animals book and she has her Old MacDonald book with her that contains some of the same animals!
5. Act parts out. Baby L never gets tired of my sound effects and gestures for Goodnight Moon. We meow for the kittens, and pretend to put on mittens. We wave goodnight to each page, then wave goodnight to everything in her own bedroom.
6. Take turns with other grown-ups or read bedtime stories all together as a family, so it's not just mommy who reads.
7. Talk about books. Baby L often checks out books from the library that have beautiful pictures, but far too many words for us to get through in a bedtime read. So we talk about the book instead, by pointing to things in the pictures and naming them.
8. Try reading a favorite book many times so that it become familiar. Some babies like to have the same book each night because it becomes part of the routine, and routines help babies feel calm and safe. For a long time, Goodnight Moon was part of our routine, but recently Time for Bed has taken its place. Other babies enjoy more variety. Experiment to see what your child likes.
9. Spread out three or four books for your little one to choose from. Even the littlest babies will point to or pick up one book or another!
10. Respond to your child's cues. If she loves a particular book, read it again! If she's crying or upset, read as much as you can, but try again next time.
Good night everyone! Have fun reading!