10 tips to get your child interested in reading; when your child hates reading.

mom reading a book to child who hates reading.

Every parent appreciates their child’s interest in books. But sometimes this interest is not something they are born with, and we have to help them develop an interest in reading. Here are some tips to get your child interested in reading, especially when your child hates reading books.

They’re easy to follow rules we’ve applied with success in our family. For times when they run away from books!

I don’t need to tell you the importance of books in human lives.

But, let me tell you this — Love for books is going to be more important in our children’s generation, because of the overload of digital media. Just like cursive handwriting got lost in print writing, so might books lose to all the screen time our kids love these days.

And, THAT is no progress for sure!

I hear this very often “my child is not interested in books – at all”, or “it’s very unusual for your boy to like books; it’s usually not a boy thing!” or “my child hates books, I just can’t make him sit and read with me”.

Let me get straight to the point and share some tips about how to get your child interested in reading books!

10 Tips to Get Your Toddler Interested in Books

Tip #1: Evenings are generally the best time

Evenings are rough in every home, especially with little kids, right after or before dinner.

Books are magical when it comes to calming someone down, anyone really!

And the other best calming thing for your child is YOU.

So, pair these two together, when your baby gets fussy in the evenings; read some books with them.

Both of these are untapped treasures of calm; use them in your favor and beat that witching hour in the evenings, when your good day starts to turn into chaos.

Readers are made in their parent’s laps! - Emilie Buchwald Click To Tweet

Tip #2: Don’t play with your kids!

The only thing I do with my kids when they want me to be involved in their activities is we read books together, I don’t play!

Fun fact: I didn’t realize I do this before writing this article. ( I shouldn’t be so strict though)

The reason is not that I don’t like to play with them! It’s that play is independent in our house kids lead the play, they explore, they make the rules, and have fun; I just clean up the toys.

When you only read books together; it accustoms kids to only do that with you when they want to be with you!

This is not dictatorial if it’s coming out like that, we spend a lot of time together, I’m just not involved in “playing”. 

Playing is their passion, not mine; so I provide ways for that without physically attaching myself too much with it.

Tip #3: Let babies or even toddlers flip through the books

It doesn’t matter if they start the book from the back cover, or they have their book upside down, or they don’t let you finish the sentences, or they want to stay at the same page too long. Unless they’re destroying the book; just let them be!

With all that self-directed exploration of books; they’re learning a lot more than you can imagine, let them lead the book reading (this is the secret).

If you let them lead the reading or “not reading” of the books with your presence; you will have them hooked very soon!

This is not being disrespectful to the books; however, destroying them is!

How does it going to matter if they know or don’t know the sentences yet, they’re going to keep reading the same books over and over again for a few years!

Because it’s not about the book; it’s about the feeling they generate from the book.

When I was a kid; I remember reading little riding hood innumerable of times myself, even into my teens. (I was weird!)

Related post: 21 Screen-Free Activities for Toddlers.


Tip #4: There is no wrong way to read a book

It’s alright if your child wants the story to be different from what the book says. If they want to make up the story by looking at the pictures. Even better! Really…

Don’t correct them; because there is no wrong way to read a book!

That’s what creativity and books are all about — made up stories.

This will usually happen around 3-4 yrs of age when their “pretend-play” mind is no the peak, and they want to control everything around them; let them control their fantasy world.

It’ll actually help them release all that controlling urge, and they are going to be less adamant about controlling your real world… it’s going to be a great hidden win!

Tip #5: Take them to the world of books aka Library

This is a must!

Seeing a place overloaded with books, reinforces the importance of books in our minds.

I was very regular to the library with my older one, but not so much when my younger one was born, who didn’t have the love for books until 14 months of age; but when I was back to the library regularly, she really got interested in books.

I tell you it works, like magic!

You don’t have to go for special programs, or even get the books if returning them overwhelms you, just visit the library!

That ambiance is another world, and it has a very positive impression on human minds.

Tip #6: Loan children’s books from the library

Contrary to what I just said above, if you are comfortable getting books from the library, do it — do it now!

There is no better way to introduce new books to your child, than the library; they have such huge collections of kids books, almost any title you’ve heard of you’ll find it there.

And then, when your kids like a particular book or books; you can buy them later, this will save you from putting money on books your child is not interested in yet!

Libraries, also have board books, if you feel like you can’t trust your children with thin pages.

#momtip: All the libraries these days have an online portal, so you can search the books by keywords on your computer from home, and the library staff will get the books from the system and hold them for you. You just go and check them out from the front desk, this way you can get books from far away libraries too, and it saves a ton of time.

Tip #7: The famous bedtime stories tradition

We have a slightly different approach to bedtime stories than most families, where we tell made up bedtime stories, instead of reading books.

But the tradition of reading bedtime books should never be underestimated, it’s the best habit you can help your children develop, after eating healthy food (that triumphs everything for me).

Tip #8: Ask them to get a book to read

As soon as your child starts walking, or even crawling. Ask them to go and get a book for both of you to read together.

I hear you asking, how is this any different to me getting the book to read?

A couple of ways: This shift the ownership of the book reading from you to the child, and since the child chooses the book they will be more interested in it.

So, always-always let them choose and bring the book if they’re willing! If not, you do it for them.

Tip #9: Trust them they’ll get it sooner or later

Every child is going to be different, my older one started liking books at 7 months while my younger one, started about 15 months of age. I have some friends, their children knew their ABC’s at 15 months, let alone interest in books.

The timing will be different but they’ll get it, you need to give your child positive reinforcement instead of telling yourself and others -“my child hates reading”. (I made this mistake with my younger one, but fortunately stopped as soon as I realized what I was doing)

If you are persistent and show them the importance of books, they all definitely like books, sooner or later.

Related Post: Your child is struggling with Terrible two Age.

Tip #10: Always have access to books.

Keep, books accessible for kids, even babies. S0 that they can read or flip through on their own, or bring the books to you when they want to read.

So this even means: having the books on the floor for a crawling baby (maybe in a basket) or in the lower shelf for toddlers.

This is the other key secret; after letting them lead the book reading!

(I know; I’m just all about independence in kids; I can’t help it but cherish it so much.)

The takeaway

Give your undivided attention to books, so they understand books are special.

Visit the library, there is no place with more friendlier people.

Trust your kids, and don’t shadow their emotions for books with yours.

Let your child lead the book reading or flipping since that is the first step to generating love for books!

You’ll be glad for this time and effort you put in them; especially when they become teenagers. It’s a great company to have.

Tips to Raise Kids who Love Reading

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