Won’t let me read books

My 2 year old always says “no mama, no book” when I open a book. He will do his best to close it (including sitting on it if I resist). He always wants to to play cars or something else, which I’m cool with, but you know, all the blogs and guidance say read to your kids daily. I’ve tried reading aloud while he plays as well as just sitting silently with a book, but it’s as if he is jealous of the books having my attention. (Side note: he does the same thing if I try to play an instrument.) I don’t want him to resent books if he’s not interested, yet I still want to foster a culture of reading and exploring books. I bought books that match his interests and favorite characters, but no interest beyond the cover. Any suggestions or similar experiences?

  • Lynn
    Mar 25

    I think talking out loud and forecasting is great and telling stories as you play with him will work well until he’s ready for books. You can also take him to libraries and story times even if you need to leave right away. There are also classes you can take him too.

  • Ivy
    Mar 25

    My second was very much like this. My first loves books and it seemed so natural with him. What I started doing, is playing YouTube videos of people reading books that we have. Sometimes I play animations of it, like Green Eggs and Ham or the Rainbow Fish. Or Llama Llama has a series on Netflix too. Now he likes books a lot more and I don’t need to look up videos online for him to stimulate an interest

  • Laura
    Mar 25

    Maybe let him pick out books at the library to take home? That way they're ones he wants to look at and he'll remember that they were his choice when you want to read them at home.

  • Victoria
    Mar 25

    My two year old loves books but my 1 year old does not. I agree with the other person where if your child likes tv have them read a book of their favorite show. My one year old loves Elmo so now he is interested in Elmo books yay !

  • Hannah
    Mar 25

    You could buy some puppets!😊 or even just get one puppet that reads to him every night. Make it one of his favorite animals or characters and make it as though they (the puppet) are reading the book and not you. I don’t know about you, but my kid is much more ornery with me than she is with anyone else and I have had this work a lot of times! “Queen Elsa” basically sleep trained my kid and definitely assisted with potty training as well lol😅👌🏼 Pop up books, books that have buttons to push for noises, touch and feel books, and books with little pullouts are more interactive and fun too! Also maybe have reading at the same time every day so that he knows it’s coming and it’s part of the routine. We always read two books right before bed while she eats a little bedtime snack (apple slices, plain yogurt, string cheese) my daughter does love books, but she also knows that when I ask her to go pick out two books at night that it’s bedtime, so of course she tries to prolong the process and will often resist going to pick out the books. In that case I let her know “okay well if you don’t want to go pick out your books then we aren’t going to be able to have snack tonight, you get your snack when we read books together” and I make it her choice, and she always chooses books since she wants her snack lol... In other instances when she was resisting or prolonging the bedtime process (going and getting her books included) I have said “Okay, Penelope would you like to go snuggle and read your books with me for a little bit before you go to bed or would you like to just go straight to bed?” And she always gets a little pep in her step and gets her books picked out... that way she has options (of my choice) but I let her feel as though it’s her choice. Lastly, stay strong. You’re the mom and you know what’s best, not him... it’s hard to do when you have a defiant two-year-old, but stick to what you said you would do and even if he throws a tantrum you need to show him that you will follow through with what you said... and you may have a tantrum if he is not wanting to do it, but once he realizes and remembers that you followed through with what you said then he will quickly start deciding to listen to you and not have the tantrums because the tantrum tactic didn’t work and listening to momma is way more fun than throwing a tantrum that doesn’t even end with getting what you want. Anyways... I know this might be much, but if you’re really wanting him to be engaged then maybe you will want to give these a shot lol hope this helps and good luck!👍🏼🤗

  • MamaNukesYopolo
    Mar 25

    I would absolutely not force him. If he doesn’t like to read, even just reading around him and showing your own interest in the book will eventually make him curious. Reading at that age is mostly for vocabulary so telling stories is another good way. However, what’s special about reading is it isn’t the usual vocab he hears from his family. What I’ve done with my kids sometimes is something like they do at storytime where I’m reading a book, but the book is an action book so we act it out. You can hold the book up if he’s curious but if not, just tell the story using the vocabulary in the book. The very hungry caterpillar is a good one. Or brown bear brown bear (act like each animal). Just hang in there and keep offering. And if you haven’t already library story time rocks, even if he just wanders around the room the whole time, he’s observing and absorbing. But please, your instinct are dead on not to force him, so please trust that! Just keep on trying! It’s a phase they all go through. :)

  • Heather
    Mar 25

    I have taken my kids to storytime often at the library and then also let them pick some of the books out themselves while we are there. Then if they resist at reading at home, I’ll pretend to do storytime with his stuffed animals a little away from him. Make it fun and expressive. He always joins right in. You’ve got this! Oh and keep reading yourself for fun. Modeling is key.

  • K
    Mar 25

    My son was exactly like that. Only time he was interested was at night for bedtime snuggles. He loved (still does) construction and vehicles. When he was 2 we “read” Richard Scarry’s Cars, Trucks & Things That Go. It’s the only book where goldbug hides. He loved finding him and in the process we would look at what all the characters were doing and it sparked something in him. Try book about what he likes. There are great books without words. Adding onto what others said, Storyline Online is a wonderful website that has videos of books being read.

  • Erica
    Mar 25

    Wanting a book happened over night for my little guy. He is pushing 4 in may. Enjoy the moment where he/she actually becomes interested. Little blue truck is a huge hit with ages 2 and under. My boy now what's green eggs and and him. I'm now like pleeeaaassseee not again ;)

  • Christa
    Mar 25

    Audio books!! They make some great ones for kids and they are so helpful when kids don’t want to sit and read! I use them pretty frequent, so my kiddos has the option to still play but also is listening to a story!!

  • Magpie
    Mar 26

    My girl didn’t like me reading to her when she was little. She is 10 now and reads at a high school level. I didn’t force her to sit and listen. Just kept taking her to the library so she could find something she liked.

  • Hilary
    Mar 26

    Trying taking a stuffed animal or puppet and have them read it. My kids love that stuff. That’s how I get them to do things they don’t want to do. Lol.

  • Tj
    Mar 27

    Thank you everyone for the great ideas!

  • Tracy
    Mar 28

    Make sure that you are demonstrating that reading books is something that adults do for entertainment, meaning don’t read books on your phone. Get real ones and read them while he plays. Magazines count too because honestly small kids don’t play long enough for you to get through more than a page or two. Also spread his books around the house. Have some in his room and in the living room. Make them easily accessible and visible. I attribute my love of reading to seeing my parents read books and magazines. My mom was mostly a single mom with three kids under four because of my dad’s work schedule, so there were no bedtime stories for us. Lastly also try a picture book like, In Town All Year ‘Round. My son loves pointing at the things that he’s interested in in the pictures like horses, snowmen, etc.

  • Karla
    Mar 28

    Don’t force it, if you do, he might end up resenting it. Reading a book is not about the act of reading, it’s about the interaction and learning language. So if he doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine. Look for other activities that promote interaction and communication. If he wants to play with cars, play with him or broadcast what he is doing. Broadcasting is a great way to promote language development.

  • Natasha
    Apr 29

    Audio books or even televised books. I have seen Pbs kids play tv episodes of books being read out loud as a new format to inspire a love of books.

  • V
    May 07

    My toddler (2.5) HATED books but i started making it fun! Letting him the turn and everything, even if he’s not reading pages by page. Getting him interested was the first step. If we read about Dino’s i would act like one or make animal noises