Do you struggle with getting the kids to
- sit still
- stay quiet
- not touching!
- not playing with the cat/dog/hamster/guinea pig/mouse/snake/lizard/insertwhateverpethere
- stop making noises with body parts
- stop making faces
or anything like that?
Read aloud time can be a challenge for sure.
Here’s a list of 20 tips to help your kids to focus, comprehend the words that are coming outta your mouth, and be respectful of read aloud time.
- Practice. It’s hard when they’re little and antsy. Keep going, mama! It’s great to teach respect and when and how to be quiet. Be intentional and gentle. They’re little and this is new and unpopular. They’ll get it eventually.
- Start with only a few minutes each day. Work up to more. We limit it to an hour. Then my voice gets tired.
- Mix it up. We read aloud from the Bible. Later, we do science. We do history on a different day. And we make time for fun reads too.
- Take breaks. Let em stretch or run around the house or do something to get the wiggles out. Attention spans are only about 15 minutes, tops.
- Let the kids take turns reading. Even if it’s a sentence or two. Great practice and they love it.
- Great excuse for snuggle time on the couch! Make sure you have a rotation schedule for who sits next to on Mama or there will be fights. How do I know? sigh.
- Get outside and worship God in creation while reading Bible stories or inspirational poetry or fiction. Yes, they might get distracted by birds or squirrels, but they’ll hear some too.
- Allow for questions and conversation time. It’s about relationship! Have fun.
- Give littles something to do with their hands quietly – like Legos, cars, mini animals (Toobs are great!), puzzles, blocks, Magneatos, Wedgits, or something quiet
- Give coloring pages that coincide with your reading materials – get Notebooking Pages here! Get US history coloring pages and other history pages here!
- Get books on CD or tape or Audible and listen to give your voice a break. Also check the library!
- Give each child her own rug, cushion, or spot to sit on during reading time
- Make sure they know they will be narrating this to Daddy so they should pay attention!
- Have the kids draw pictures of their favorite scenes as narration after reading time
- Inform them they will be acting out the narration afterwards. Let em make it a skit with props! Perform it for Daddy or grandparents or neighbors that night. Or video it!
- Let em have snacks or read during breakfast or tea time. Their mouths are full and they can’t talk!
- My eldest likes to crochet during reading time. She even balances a book or her iPad mini on her knee during her quiet time
- Give littles tracing pages or a dry erase board to play with with colored markers or crayons
- Provide matching cards or 3-part cards or some other manipulatives that pertain to the read alouds
- Read at a park, or Starbuck’s, or somewhere public. They’re less likely to embarrass you in public. They’ll be super good if the incentive is playtime or a treat after. They’ll want to hurry through it and go!
- BONUS! Read alouds after dinner include snuggle time with Dad. He loves listening to me read history and science. :)
It’s all worth it when you find your kids like this:
Do you have any strategies that help your kids (and you) during read aloud time?
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