“It’s terribly kind of you, Fox, but no – I’m going to have lunch with a gruffalo.”
I probably read ‘The Gruffalo’ at least 6 times a day and ‘The Snail and the Whale’ and ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’ and any other book that Max throws at me whilst backing onto my knees for his optimum reading position. It is the cutest thing and I love reading to him just as much as he loves to turn the pages and point out every dog, bird and weird looking mouse.
A play date pal recently commented on Max’s reading habit as she was frustrated that her little nugget was not doing the same and we were in a library, so books were the main theme, its not like Max was reading on the slide or something. I feel I should preface this with “I simply got lucky” and I promise that I am feeling my way through this dark abyss called motherhood just like you and I have no ‘real answers’, but I will share my experience with you incase anyone finds it helpful.
We started reading to Max before bed when he was about 6 months old and it was at the same time that I started to wean him off my breast milk. To ease the process we initiated a big circus style of a routine; a long and playful bath, baby massage, one book, a bottle of formula milk, a hug and a kiss and bed. It really helped him to settle into his own room and he forgot he was drinking formula because he was enjoying a good story.
We did and still do this routine every night with slight variations and instead of one book before the big sleep, he is read at least five stories and he still points to his book shelf for one more tale before he signs off for the day. Consistency is king and key when encouraging tiny terrors to do anything and it has definitely paid off with books and reading. Max has a bookshelf in his room and in our lounge so he has constant access to his literature of choice. Max’s reading time is also the only time he sits down so it makes sense that a very active 15 month old boy needs some chill out time with Julia Donaldson and friends.
I know he was and still is too young to understand the stories we are telling him, but he seems to enjoy our funny voices and he now loves to get involved too, he turns the pages and oohs and ahhs in all the right places. It is amazing to witness and I am so glad we stuck with it and encouraged him to love his books, because he does and I only hope he continues to enjoy them as much as we enjoy reading them to him (even the seventh time, especially the eighth time).