Never in my wildest dreams, I have thought one day I would write a blog post on books! The 18 months old toddler at home has read more books than me and my husband has read in our whole lives, so far. So, I thought of writing a few words on how it all began and how are we keeping at it.
The first set of books I got for Adhiyan was the My first library board book set, because I had to travel with him to Kuwait alone and I was looking at options to keep him occupied during the flight. This was in October 2019 and Adhiyan was 8 months old and we have come a LONG way in the past 1 year.
There is no screen time for him at home so apart from playing around with his toys, he spent most of his time with those 10 board books and that’s how it all started. Those were the only books we had and he was occupied with his grandparents around. The real deal started when the country went on a lock down in March and the grandparents had left too. Lock down rules were so strict that we couldn’t even step out for walks in our apartment parking lot. We, like any parent bought him a bunch of toys as part of our panic-shopping to keep him indoors but he didn’t show much of an interest and he was engaged with them for a maximum of 20 minutes. What would you do inside a flat with a toddler all day long for months together? So when my husband went for grocery shopping I asked him to buy baby/toddler books from the supermarket because that was only place we were allowed to shop during the lock down. We could get only 2 books and no online services were functioning at that time.
When Adhiyan saw those books he was SO elated and our answer for keeping him indoors was right there!
We read the same books multiple times and we would always relate the real world things around him. For instance, when we read vegetables, we ask where has he seen that vegetable in our home? and while feeding a fruit we referred to that fruit in his book and showed him the picture. And this continued for weeks together.
Though the books were in English, we would translate them to Tamil (our mother tongue) and explain the content. I believe that helped him to understand much better and he was able to relate things around him with what he reads in a matter of few weeks. A few pointers that we realized in our journey so far –
- ALWAYS, let the child take the lead. Ask them what they want to read. Even if it is the same book over and over, go with them.
- Don’t force the child to read. If you see an interest in them, help them have fun in reading.
- Even though Adhiyan was less than an year old, we used to read the entire text in the books and not just refer to the pictures. The children will still be listening to you read and one day they would surprise by repeating those words.
- PATIENCE! One virtue that I don’t possess naturally but I have learnt to be so because as a parent you don’t have much of a choice, do you?
- Look for options around you, book clubs that share/donate books, independent book stores, hand-downs from nephews, nieces anything works.
I will share the list of the books that we read and the resources where I read about reading a book to the kid in the coming posts. Stay tuned!