Help! Reading to my 3 year old…


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  • Mariah

    I read with my daughter {8} all throughout the day. My son is around us reading all the time, but when it comes to reading to him he could care less. I recently got tired of him wanting to check out Diego and Bob the Builder books from the library, and I reserved some of the books off of the Early Years Guide to read with him. He wasn’t interested at all. I read Ferdinand to him, by page 2 he was running down the hall to play in his room. I read The Little Engine that Could to him, and he is asking me to stop. I read Peter Rabbit, and he decides to speak very loudly to his Dad and not pay attention.

    I have heard that some children can do cart wheels and hang upside down while being read to and they still end up paying attention and enjoying the literature. Do you think that is what is going on here? Is it OK to have a child that does not enjoy good literature {shudder, twitch, *sigh*}? I would say it is his age and just a ‘boy’ thing, but his sister was born with a book in her hand, and I have friends whose boys are younger than mine who enjoy reading time. Will he outgrow this phase? I have thought maybe he thinks reading time takes Mommy away from playing with him, so he doesn’t like it…

    Any advice?


    One of my boys was like your daughter – all he did was read.  He LOVED books, even at a crazy young age.  Fastfoward to my 2nd son, at the same age, and he could care less about book – unless it was a Disney book about Peter Pan where he could look at the pictures.  But now at 5, he LOVES reading.  So he may just outgrow it! He’s still little! 


    Some of my DC enjoyed books at that age, others couldn’t sit still enough.  All of them had a couple books they would sit still for though.  Those were the ones we read 10 times a day!  lol  I don’t think it’d be a waste of time to keep trying, as frustrating as it gets.  Also, I think timing is key…If you can find a moment when they are a bit cuddlier or calmer, as opposed to when they are bouncing off the walls, you might have better luck.


    We have had great success by reading to my three year old at bedtime after a warm bath, healthy snack, etc. He is willing to sit on my lap while I rock him and read to him. I have tried to read to him during the day but he is way too busy! He really is beginning to love books compared to just a few months ago….didn’t want much to do with them!


    My ds3 will listen to any story I pick out if it’s right before bed time because he’d rather do anything than go to sleep.  😛  He’s gotten more used to a variety of books that way. 


    Agreeing with the suggestion to find a still time of day like bedtime. Over meals is one that works well for me too. I’ve got 7 kids until July and when that baby arrives I’ll have 6 boys. The last 5 boys will be ages 5, 4, 2, 1, ad newborn…LOL. They definitely are on the go a lot during the day so I choose books and have them ready for when my boys have to be still like nap, meal, and bedtime when I’m getting them used to sitting for reading. We also read to them from the day they are born.

    One other suggestion, given in love, is to clear the twaddle out of the house completely (even if that means you just box it up for now) until he’s no longer expecting to see books with tv characters and no plot. If junk food is available (twaddle = junk food for the eyes/mind) then he won’t want real living books.


    Thank you all for your thoughts! I will keep at it and see how it goes. I do try reading to him at bedtime, but he often would rather have Daddy do the bedtime routine…and Dad tells made up stories about a hampster named Hammy. It’s kind of hard to beat that! 😉

    Tristan, I am just starting to understand the whole twaddle topic. I realized my daughter read twaddle {and still does from time to time}, and it doesn’t bother me since she always has read the good stuff too. My son doesn’t have too much in the way of twaddle, I don’t think. Most of the books in his room are Berenstain Bears, Sandra Boynton, Golden Books, and Veggie Tales stories. He does have a small collection of Cars books, but he just likes to use those to match up his toy cars to the cars that are pictured in the book. It is at the library he gravitates towards the tv character books.

    IMHO I don’t think it’s anything you should be worrying about. He’s so young and he seems perfectly happy doing other things. Not everyone is a reader right from the start! At least he has some interest in reading when it’s books he likes.

    Just continue to play with him so he doesn’t think reading is taking time away from that like you mentioned. How about you and Daddy try to read to him at night? Or maybe if Dad takes a break from Hammy and tries reading him one of the books that you’d like to.

    Don’t worry too much about it! There’s always always the chance that he’ll learn to love reading in a few years. As long as he’s healthy, active, and shows an interest in learning, you’ve got a good boy on your hands.



    I have 2 boys 6yo and 3yo.  My oldest had little interest in sitting down to listen to a story when he was 3yo.  Once he turned 5 then he started to settle into listening for short periods of time.  He now will listen for 10-15 minutes at a time.  My youngest is the opposite and would probably sit for an hour and listen to books read to him.  I think it just depends on the child and your little one will probably do just fine when he gets older.  


    It’s hard to beat a good Hammy tale.  lol

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