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If Your Little One Doesn’t Like Books: Try These Tips!

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Does your kid seem to dislike book reading time? Reading books to your children is a very important part of their childhood. However, when a child resists book reading time or doesn’t seem to enjoy it, it can be hard to continue trying with books. Have no fear! There are many different elements that you can change or add if your kiddo isn’t getting much out of book reading now. Here are a few suggestions:

Toddler in black checkered top and spaghetti sauce on her cheek and arm holds a green handled fork in her right hand while pulling spaghetti noodls off the fork with her left hand.

Make sure the books are age appropriate. Sometimes the reason why kids are resisting or not having fun is because the content is too difficult. Babies and toddlers have shorter attention span and need books that are tailored to their age group. Board books and bright pictures are often more captivating than paper books with lots of words when you are starting out.

Read at a different time of the day. If you are attempting to read at bedtime or naptime and your little one is getting fussy, it is likely that they are just tired. Try to introduce books during play to see if they are more receptive.

Skip reading the words on the page. It’s ok to not read all the words (or any of them!) during book reading. Instead of reading the words, talk about what you see in the picture and point to exciting photos. Going off script sometimes can help a kid pay attention.

Go at their pace. Focus on creating a positive experience with book reading, rather than getting through the whole book. Maybe your child just wants to flip through the pages really quickly, that’s ok! Perhaps your kiddo wants to stay on one page the whole time, awesome! Maybe they want to open and close the book like a game, fantastic! Letting your child experience book reading by their definition of fun is a great way for them to enjoy books.

Interact with the book. Make the characters come alive by showing how to interact with the photos. The more dramatic, the better! Here are some ideas how to do so: pretend to eat food on the page, pretend to smell flowers, pretend to lick an ice cream cone, pretend to touch something hot and say “ow”, knock on doors in pictures, wave and say “hi” to characters, etc.

Introduce books with textures. Books that have fur or fun textures that your kid can touch and feel are great books for kids that are not interested in books just yet.

Don’t read the whole book. When your little one shows you that they are done, it’s perfectly fine to stop. It’s ok if your little one only gets through 1-2 pages before they’re bored. It’s even ok if all you did was open the book and flip through the pages quickly. That still helps them learn about book reading believe it or not! Ending book reading when your child is done is a way to ensure that book reading stays enjoyable for both you and your kid.

Not all kids love and crave book reading right off the bat. We need to make it FUN for them. Focus on making book reading time enjoyable and exciting.

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