Reading to your baby.

Momof1 - posted on 10/21/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )




My son Bryce is 11 months old. Whenever I try to read to him, he grabs the book and tries to eat it. LOL (The problem with that is, most of the books are from the library.) He doesn't like to sit still and listen or look at the pictures. And I try to read to him at different times of the day, when he may be less active. It never works. Do you think that if I read to him while he plays, that is worthwhile, then maybe eventually he will want to start looking at the pictures so I can point things out to him?

Also, this isn't about reading, but is it weird that Bryce doesn't like to cuddle or sit with my husband or I? He might crawl up to me and give me a hug, but that is few and far between. He won't sit on the couch with us or on my lap. Even when he wants to be held, he always wants to be put back down right away. Thanks for the advice and input.


Melissa - posted on 11/04/2010




Board books are definitely the way to go and the ones that have different textures for the little ones to touch are awesome. Look around for used book stores (around here we have a line of stores called Half Price Books) to find inexpensive books for kids. There are also lots of board books that have buttons that create sound effects that might catch his attention.

I found that my little guy loved to hold a book on his own while I read to him from another book. Fortunately, our son has always loved to read and we read to him from day one (even while he was in the NICU). He will frequently sit down to flip through books on his own or bring them over for us to read.

Try reading books and using silly voices for each character to help keep his interest.

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Kelly - posted on 11/09/2010




I have noticed recently my son who was born 9 16 09 is starting to point to animals that I make the sounds for like I quack when I point at a duck so he'll point to get me to do it again, but this is very recent, like the last week, and I've noticed mine has also gotten more snuggly the last... oh about three weeks, he seems to miss me after grandma babysits, but if I sit on the couch it's still awful hard to keep him interested in just cuddling, we throw a pillow and blanket on the ground and lie on our tummys, but that is still only about 10 minutes on a good day, I think it's just an active exciting age, the spent all that time learning to walk, now that's all they want to do right?

Suzanne - posted on 11/04/2010




It just sounds like you have a very independant baby, which is a good thing. You can probably go to the toilet in peace :) My daughter is kinda half and half. In the morning after a bottle she loves to have a cuddle on the couch, but once she had enough she hops down and does her own thing. Maybe check out your local 2nd hand shop for some cheap cardboard books that your boy can chew on if he feels the urge :) I get through 1 or 2 pages with Meghan before she pulls it away and runs :) sometimes she comes back with a different book. Maybe try something different for cuddle time. Play with a couple of teddies...... or what ever your son likes :) I wouldn't worry too much about him not wanting to cuddle because it looks like he knows you and daddy are there when he needs you and thats the important thing i think :)

Liz - posted on 11/04/2010




My oldest kids ( two year old b/g twins) didn't really start getting into being read to until they were about 18 months old. Now they love being read to and I read to my almost four month old too. It's something fun all three kids can share.

As to his not wanting to cuddle or sit, it may just be because he is an extremely active child. My twins go through phases like that.

AJ - posted on 11/04/2010




lol, your situation is very familier to me, my son is now 17months old, but up untill about 2/3 months ago he would take books away from me when i was trying to read them to him and go and sit in another spot and look through them by himself. When he was a bit younger - about your sons age and younger he would also chew/bite suck on the books, we therefore have a number of fabric and hard cardboard type books as well as some plastic bath books, you can also get fabric books with rubber teething corners on them. I would definitly encourage you to read to your son while he is playing, this is what i ended up doing and when he would come over to me to take the book i would say, "no mummy is reading this book" and hold it up for him to look at the pictures and continue reading. He nolonger trys to take the book from me when i read to him, but during the day he doesnt and never really has come up and sat quietly with me to listen, also, he likes to be on the couch but prefers to jump up and down on it rather than sit with us, i think that this is very normal and at 11months i would not expect your son to have the attention span to sit and look at pictures with you for any length of time. But keep reading to him regardless, we have now introduced a book before bed and my son, being very sleepy sits very still on mine or my husbands lap and listens and points at the pictures, it can take time but your son will get there you just need to encourage an interest in books, so i suggest you get some chew friendly ones for now and keep reading! :o)

Lauren - posted on 11/03/2010




I had the same problem, my son loves to be on his own two feet. He never used to sit still, he would take the book and run. It was very frustrating. So i would leave it and try again in a couple of weeks. Eventually at 19 months, he started to sit still long enough for us to read him a story. I find the best time for him is before bed with his bottle. We keep the story's short for now so that he can concentrate and listen from beginning to end. I also found that putting on accents and doing sounds effect helps too. He is now 20 months, and still likes to be independent, but every now and again, he'll come for a hug or a kiss.

Kristin - posted on 11/03/2010




First, about the reading, what does he like? Find SHORT picture books and board books about those topics. Shoot for just a few minutes at several different times a day. Sit and read yourself. They are very much monkey see, monkey do. If you want to do a storytime for him and his favorite toys, that works too. Also, make sure he has books that he can pick up and explore. I give mine the old magazines to destroy and lots of board books.

As for the not wanting to cuddle, some kids are just like that. Always offer and be there for him. If he's always been this way, I would not expect it to change. If he used to be a cuddlebug, this may just be him asserting his independence and exploratory nature. Be as affectionate as he will tolerate and show affection to his dad and eventually, he might get a bit more snuggly.

Good luck.

Michelle - posted on 11/02/2010




Reading is a very important part of learning words, so kudos to you! :o) And any time he is hearing you talk--whether reading, singing or conversing--is learning time for him. You might try reading one book while letting him chew on another (one of yours that you could specifically designate as a chew book). That way he will be doing with the books what he likes, and he will be benefitting from hearing you reading to him. I found that books with pictures of animals were big hits with the kids in my class at day care (infant and toddler room). If you prepare him for one of those by making animal sounds with him and telling him what animal makes the sound then moving onto reading him a book about animals and showing him the pictures, that might keep his attention better. You could also do that with modes of transportation and such. As for the lack of interest in cuddling, boys tend to be more interested in their gross motor skills than in people. :o) No worries! It doesn't mean he doesn't love you; he is just busy "working" (that is what play is for little ones). ;o) Just soak up each hug he gives you and praise him highly for it and he may decide he likes having you happy and might give them more freely.

Jenny - posted on 11/02/2010




Your post made me laugh! He reminds me of pretty much any boy, not to be sexist, but boys are so active! Mine never sat still. Never. Even when they were babies they tried to jump off my lap. When I had my daughter, my desire to have a connection - to have the baby sit and be cuddled- was met. Of course, there are many girls who are just as active. I think there are "lap babies" and "non-lap babies." I am not an expert or anything, but I find that the personality of the baby is pretty much set and some eat books at first and some read them, or at least look at them. Do they have board books at the library? They are harder to eat. :-) Reading and looking at books is really essential and you sound very patient and are definitely doing the right thing, I believe. My 9 year old did not like to read until recently. I read to anyone in the household who is interested.

I think being persistent is key and that you are right to keep trying different ways. Of course, keeping an eye on behavior as they age is always a good idea. When they are this young it is hard to assess "normalcy" since they all act so weird anyway! :-) Any signs of lack of eye contact are something to look for. Lack of cuddling? Well, boys turn into men. Many men cuddle, but are not famous for cuddling. let's put it that way. :-)

(I made many edits to my post because I wrote it so quickly, then after reading it a few times, noticed that it didn't come out on print at all the way it started to in my brain. :-)

Merry - posted on 11/02/2010




I have never 'read' to my son. We look at books. We sit on the floor with a book open on the floor and he turns the pages as I help him and sometimes he asks what something is by pointing and I tell him. I have not read a story to him and don't intend on it until he is old enough to listen to a story better.
He is 1 1/2 now and he adores book and he will look through his books alone all the time, he turns pages and says the animal names and makes the sounds or points out the numbers or colors etc. I think forcing a child to sit and listen to a book is detrimental to their love of reading and not something I'll ever do!
Its all his pace, his timeline, his preference and it's working beautifully.
Don't force books on him, he will only learn to hate them. Buy a few cheap sec on hand board books that he can have open acces to and if he chews it so be it, eventually he will notice the pictures and want to know what it is. Then the learning takes off!

Katie - posted on 11/02/2010




My son is 13 months and he does the same thing with the books, although he wants to rip the pages out instead of eat them. I just read while he is playing with something else. It may seem like they aren't listening, but they most likely are. Its always good for them to hear new words, so any kind of reading is going to be beneficial to him.

Tine - posted on 11/02/2010




Hm, not so sure about the hugging thing, it might be his personality or his age; he might just be interested in exploring right now, and impatient with anything else! Let him have the space he needs to explore, and use excuses like helping him climb, etc, to hug and cuddle him. You could play cuddly games, like tickling him or pretending to eat his feet to encourage cuddly huggy moments so he feels good about it and enjoys and looks for contact with you.

Which also answers the reading question. Let him come to it in his own time. He's at a very physical age, and needs to explore things physically. Babies that age just find sitting still tricky and the words don't really mean anything to him yet so I guess you really can't blame him for wanting to do something useful with the book and eat it! Seriously (I was an English teacher before motherhood so I really do care!) the best way to encourage reading is to offer a range of interesting books and let him explore them in a developmentally appropriate way. He might like books that have fur or are plastic or pop out things or whatever. Keep talking to him about them, but I do it in an engaging way with my daughter rather than reading the story. I will point out pictures of things she knows words to, and make a game out of it (for example one book has a lion in it and I point to other things, then ... with a pause for effect ... the LION!!! And grab her and tickle her, roar, etc like a lion. She ADORES it, and looks for the lion and grabs my finger to point to it .. you can use stuff like that to really engage him at a level he is comfortable with. Get soem cheap books of your own so he can explore them without you having to worry. I gave up on library books!

Michelle - posted on 11/01/2010




My 10 month old son is the same way...chewing everything! But I still try to get a couple books in everyday. He seems to pay better attention to the bigger book. He has one he absolutely loves. It has just a few works such as "Wakey wakey sleepy baby!" per page and then a big picture of a real baby sleeping. I think most babies enjoy looking at other babies. You could also make a reading board with magazine pictures or your own family pictures. You don't have to write a story, just make up your own as you go. If it's pretty big, he may not be as tempted to put the board in his mouth. I sometimes put his soother in his mouth so he wont be able to chew. Or if you bottle feed, you could try reading to him while he is drinking in your lap. He is also exactly the same way about cuddling so no worries...they are just too busy at that age. Good luck!

Kate - posted on 11/01/2010




Well, my 13 month old is the same way-would rather eat a book than anything, lol. But she loves books, and she brings them to me to read to her, when I get finished and hand it to her she hands it back for me to read again, sometimes two or three times. She has no patience for books with lots of words, she likes the touch and feel books and peek a boo books the best..I will just keep reading to her and eventually she will have the patience for a whole story. She is not a cuddler either, but I have heard that if you are breastfeeding, babies don't cuddle much, but when they are weaned, they cuddle more. She is a very active child and can't sit still much. One day, she was sitting quietly with my husband and he didn't want to get up, because it is so rare that she sits still for more than a minute. :)

Caroline - posted on 10/29/2010




They do some books in Asda called 'thats not my bunny/baby etc, they are £4 and my little boy loves them, it may be worth a try, very colourful and they learn to touch the different textures rather than chewing.

Kristen - posted on 10/28/2010




Ha - my son is going to be 18 months next week and he only just recently started getting more cuddley - he was just like your little guy at 11 months! So don't fret too much, he may come around yet. One thing we did is continue the bedtime routine -my husband and I would sit on the couch and read to him and then I would take him to the rocking chair for some lullabye's- even when he would not want it for too long. He still does that at times. If he grabs the book and throws it we say "The End" and I take him for a song and some cuddles. And he loves that part now and of course so do I. So hang in there, he may not turn into the smoochiest cuddle bug ever but I still can't believe how much more affection and just quiet time I get sitting and cuddling with my crazy (into everything!!) 18 month old!

Mel - posted on 10/26/2010




I think reading to them at any time is beneficial. Even if you think he's not listening there is still an element of it that he would be taking in. A friend of mine is a school teacher and she said that even if you give him his own book (maybe cardboard ones that he can't rip) and be really animated when you read to him so i gets his attention and even if it doesn't you are still interacting with him which is good. My son is 18 months old and is only just starting to show an interest in stories and still not all the time.
I guess some children are just not as affectionate as others. I have a niece that is like Bryce. She is 3 and still only cuddles or shows affection when it suits her. Just take what you can get and enjoy what you can.

Rebecca - posted on 10/25/2010




Mine's the same. Try letting him play for a while and when he's all played out, rock with him in a rocking chair and read the book while he holds something soft. My son is almost a year and he wont even sit still long enough to eat, but once we get into the rocking chair with his Winnie bear he lets me cuddle him and read to him all I want :) It's awesome.

Tiziana - posted on 10/25/2010




My 11 month old little guy is the same way, both for the reading and the cuddling. My husband and I get so excited for the rare times when he actually sits on the couch with us. I actually gave the reading a little break, going to try again in the next few days, he started just pulling on whatever I'm trying to read to him, so he makes it quite impossible.

Brittany - posted on 10/23/2010




Get board books and show him how to turn the pages himself. My daughter wasn't interested until I allowed her to turn the pages.

Also, the amount of words on each page makes a big difference! Get books with big pictures but just a few words. His patience and attention span will increase over time to sit down and let you read longer and longer stories.

We started reading to our daughter before she was born because we were so excited and we wanted her to love to read! Even back when she couldn't go anywhere or even roll over yet, we used to read adult chapter books to her and my husband read his law school books to her. She LOVED them because she loved hearing us talk and she loved the contrast of the black words on the white paper. Then she got older and was focusing on her physical abilities but I still managed to get in some books with a few words on each page and had about 10 pages. She often would be trying to get away by the 5th page but I read it anyway. Now she is 11 months old and she has a BIG book with like 50 short stories in it. She actually picks out books from her small bookcase and asks me to read them to her (in sign language). The stories I read now have a paragraph on each page and she usually will let me finish unless she wants to turn pages herself, in which case, I have to forget about whatever's written and just glance at the picture and make something up and say it really fast before she turns the page! Oh well, it works! =)

Chrystal - posted on 10/23/2010




Aww it sounds like you might just have yourself a little independent baby boy:)

Melissa - posted on 10/23/2010




UUmm my son is 7mth old and is NOT a cuddler...makes me sad but he is just very active! I love to read to him aswell. He also tries to grab the book and eat it...I get books that have things on them that he can grab...I think it doesnt matter what he is doing playing or crawling around as long as he hears your voice and you show him the book as much as possible you are doing a great thing!

Oh and I love the board books in the dollar section at Target!

Sarh - posted on 10/22/2010




My 4.5yr old still sometimes wont sit or lay still (I read at bedtime) long enough for a book to be read, but I read anyways. To me it is still worth while.
My 4 months old son doesn't like sitting by my fiancee or I either, he rather lay on his play gym/mat and play. Your son just sounds active and that is a good thing. My son as well will fuss, so we pick him up, and then he arches his back to be put back down... I'm thinking that is his way of getting a hug or something for that split second. lol.

Nicole - posted on 10/22/2010




My daughter is 17 months now. At that age and before she didn't want to snuggle or read. I tried to get her to sit and she would take the book and throw it aside or just turn the pages to the very end really quick and leave. It was discouraging but now reading is all she wants to do it seems like. We constantly have 4-5 books that we read several times everynight and she helps turn the page slowly so I can read and she helps with animal sounds too if there's animals in the book. Be patient. He'll settle. There's just too much other cool stuff to learn first.

Lisa - posted on 10/21/2010




Get some of those board books. They are short full of colourful pictures and they can intereact and turn the pages themselves. Also my daughter now 12 mths, if i don't want her to stick certian things in her mouth like her books, i say not in ur mouth and she takes it out.

MARY - posted on 10/21/2010




as long as you read to him while hes playing or eating they still will benefit from it! they eventually will pay attention they are still learning and you are expanding their vocabulary! my 13 month old sometimes does the same think she loves to turn pages and point but also bites i get the soft books to! so if she bites it wont harm her or the book lol.

Alice - posted on 10/21/2010




I have 4 girls and only my youngest one (9 mos) likes to sit still as a baby while I read. Usually mine didn't get interested in listening to even a catchy verse book until about 2 years old.
I do have board books, cloth books, and even one someone got me that is a teether! Babies love to chew things - even sisters lol! My 9 month old just quit biting her sisters but will lean in toward them really fast with her mouth open to make them scream and jump away! :)
Some babies are really busy and don't want to be held. My oldest was not a cuddly baby! She loved to have you pick her up, but wanted right back down unless she wasn't feeling well. My 2nd and my 4th are definately cuddly babies and love to snuggle with others, they are content sitting in laps and just watching someone talk lol! My 3rd is a mover too, but does like to be held sometimes (it's a mood, when she's in the cuddly mood she will say "I'm a baby, can you hold me?" lol!)

I think you are doing great! Reading to your baby... even just telling him stories and singing songs gets him interested in words, language, and comprehension. Eventually he will be bringing you books going "one more mommy!" and the snugglies may or may not come, but there will probably be some times he needs to be comforted and as long as he knows Mommy is there for him, he'll be okay. :)
Hope this helps!

Amanda - posted on 10/21/2010




My one year old doesn't like me to read to him, either. He doesn't really pay attention, and he will come over and take the book away from me. I used to read to him while he ate, but now if I try he just yells right over top of me. I still read my books, just not out loud to him. I am going to try to start reading to him again soon!

Lydia - posted on 10/21/2010




i agree with karen, chewing and biting on books is part of the process. get some books that he can chew on. i have few books for my 6 months old daughter to chew and some that are very valuable that i don't let her chew on... the other day i read to her a story just to see if she would listen and at first she was busy trying to catch the book and than she looked up at me so funny because i was reading and i guess it sounded different than regular talking.

i have fun books that she really loves, one has a softie-sheep attached to it and you can stick your finger in from the back and move it - she loves trying to catch the sheep. and another book has different fabrics, wood, a mirror etc in it for her to feel and see. she loves that too. especially the mirror. but chewing the corners is still her favorite book activity.

Karen - posted on 10/21/2010




imo grabbing and chewing on books is part of the process of learning to love reading - i would suggest you invest in a couple of board books the he can chew on, etc when you're reading to him. and any kind of reading will be beneficial, if you do it while he's playing he'll eventually come to see what you have.
as for the no cuddles, my almost 13 month old is the same. i wouldn't worry, he's busy exploring :)

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