Welcome to Part II of II about story time. I have been answering questions for some young moms, and these posts are those answers. (You can read part one here.)
Before I dig in to the rest of my answers, I want to give you my podcasts that have references or even more answers about story time and structuring your toddler’s and preschooler’s days over all:
(1) Room Time
(2) Turning Preschoolers into the Darling Angels They Were Meant to Be
(3) Solving Common Preschooler Behavior Problems
(4) What Should I Do With a Kindergartener?
(5) How Do I Prepare My Child to Learn to Read?
(6) Summer Reading Help
(7) Toddler Troubles
(8) Story Time
(1) If your two year old isn’t ready even for the easy part of story time, I would do the short story time alone with the two year old and one year old.
I mentioned earlier that a “private story time” in Mama’s rocking chair for toddlers (twelve to twenty months, usually) was the beginning of weaning for my littles. Basically, I replaced a nursing with stories, songs, and rhymes. And yes, it was absolutely wonderful and blissful. Enjoy every moment, young mamas!
(2) If the two year old is ready, but the only problem is interrupting too often with questions, I would consider any of the following ideas:
a. Let him choose the first book and tell him this is his “question book.” For this book only, we can stop a lot, answer questions, etc. (Oh…those interactive books that the two year olds had to do everything to…..brutal!) This is his story, and you can use it as a quality teaching time for him.
b. For the rest of the books that he stays for, tell him he can have one “excuse me.” This is one time that he can have you flip back, answer a question, etc.
c. Let him take the books that he has the most questions or that you know he wants to know more about to bed with him—and tell him after his nap he can bring the book to you for more questions.
d. If he can’t do the one “excuse me,” just let him be interactive on the first book only until he can handle it. (Always match privilege with responsibility in all aspects of parenting.)
(3) While you are trying to find what is comfortable for your family, always keep in mind the olders.
Don’t let story time turn into something they dread or something that they do not benefit from by letting littles (even though they are amazing and sweet) monopolize it.
The trickle down effect of what you teach and do with your olders is astonishing. Toddlers who run the home (or even run story time!) can really disrupt this process.
So definitely spend lots of time with your littles; love them; read, rock, sing, and play. But do not let them take over unit study times, story times, etc., and detract consistently from what you are doing with your olders.
Hope this helps!
I have to end with a cute story time story.
When Joshua (our oldest) was around ten, he decided that he was too old for story time. (They never outgrew unit studies but eventually did story time.) So on the day he decided to not come to story time, I was lying in bed with four other littles reading away when I heard a noise in the hallway. He was sitting on the floor in the hallway listening. I told him he could join us, but he said he was just resting. Next thing I knew, he was sitting in the doorway. Then on the floor beside the bed. The, of course, across the foot of the bed! The next day he joined us for quite some time thereafter! 🙂