Toddlers and Arts and Literature
A Few Tips to Make
More Fun for Everyone!
Setting the Scene
• While your toddler may be well versed in his or her own reading routine at home, often they may need some guidance about what to expect at a group storytime. Telling them what to expect may ease them more readily into the storytime routine.
• Explain that another grown-up will be reading the story. Remember while your child may be used to listening to you read, and it may be surprising to see another adult presiding without this warning.
• Talk about how there will be lots of other children around. That’s an important distinction to make to a toddler who’s accustomed to being an audience of one.
• Remind your child to try not to interrupt during the story. (Interaction is always okay, though!) In your house, you’re able to cater to your toddler’s story-time whims — you can re-read some pages, skip others, talk about pictures, and answer questions mid-book. But since there’s a group of children listening at storytime, your little one often won’t be able to make requests (at least not until the story’s over).
During the Reading of the Books:
• Sitting Quietly. Energetic toddlers often have a tough time staying seated and listening quietly during storytime. After all, their bodies were made to move and explore their world. That’s why the program is a balance of movement along with sitting and listening. Offer your lap if needed and sit with your child. And if your tot’s really antsy, look for a place in the back where they can listen to the story and not disturb others.
• Books and Story Hour Materials. Playing with the art materials or items displayed on the whiteboard/flannelboard is terrifically tempting to the toddler crowd. Sitting further back, out of reach, may help distract their tiny hands from wanting to touch everything when we reading the books or playing the games.
• Being Present. Even though every parent loves a break and a free moment and this workshop seems like a great time to check and see if Aunt Mary posted another photo of her clever cat and his latest antics on Facebook, please be mindful of what your little one is doing. Being present and in the moment means you can be preventative, thus helping avert any disruptions to the workshop. (But of course, I have to add, if Aunt Mary’s cat does something truly spectacular, be sure to share!!)
• Redirecting Your Toddler. Some days your child may be tired or just in a bit of a mood. (Frankly, we all have days like that, lol!) Often taking a moment to redirect their attention toward something else works well. Or taking a brief walk outside and coming back in to try again.