15 tricks for squeezing the most out of storytime with your little one

Let your child be in control of turning pages.

15 tricks for squeezing the most out of storytime with your little one

Hone your acting skills.

Narrate with silly voices to entice a little laughter! Every time I read The Little Engine That Could, I give the Shiny New Engine an uppity French accent and the Big Strong Engine an arrogant Italian accent. I’m sure they both sound identically Texan, but it makes the book so much more enjoyable!

Now you know how they feel.

If you are reading a book with characters, don’t forget to note the emotional expressions and feelings of the characters. Teaching the concepts of “happy and sad” or even concrete feelings, such as “sleepy” or “hungry,” can be a stepping stone to teaching your child to be empathetic of others’ feelings.


Would you, could you, in a book nook?

Designate a comfy “reading spot” at home. A reading nook offers an easy, and enticing, reminder to read in the morning and before bed. Plus, when you curl up in the book nook, your tot will know it’s reading (and snuggling) time!

Decisions, decisions.

Let your child choose what books to read. When able to take the driver’s seat, your babe will show more interest in books. Plus, feeling in control may give your child the confidence needed to “read” independently. There’s nothing cuter than a gleeful babe flipping through the pages of a favorite board book.

It’s elementary, dear Mama.

Reading isn’t just about learning letters and words. Take this opportunity to practice colors, numbers, shapes, animals, and other fundamentals, like “big and small”. This strategy is a fun way to sneak in a few minutes of traditional learning each day without your tot putting up a fuss.

It’s not always rude to point.

As you read to your babe, point to pictures and discuss the story in your own words. Drawing your little one’s attention to features on each page will prolong their interests and broaden their understanding.

We’ve all heard about the importance of reading to our tots for that magical 20 minutes a day. But how can we be sure that time is filled with love, laughter, and learning?

These 15 tricks will help you make the most out of this precious time with your child.

One step forward and three pages back.

If your tot wants to go back a few pages, go back with them (in spirit, too)! You may find yourself re-reading the same page ten times, but if your child is intrigued, savor the moment! Even if your interest is waning, try not to rush your child (unless they are old enough to stall out on bedtime… *wink*). Just have a glance at the giddy expression on your little gem’s face and your excitement will be renewed, anyway!

Complicate things…just a little bit.

If your child is speaking (or trying to), make it a habit to repeat your tot’s utterances and validate them every chance you get! As you repeat their words,elaborate and expand on their simple phrases. “That’s right, it’s a choo choo! It’s a little blue choo choo train!

Go beyond the written word.

Describe the pictures in as much detail as your babe will allow. If your child is smitten with a particular page, spend a few extra moments describing its details. If your tot starts to get antsy, re-direct your excitement to the next page.

Now I know my ABCs.

When reading aloud to your child, follow the printed words with your finger to introduce the concept that written words correspond to spoken ones. Research shows that phonological awareness of words and sounds is essential for learning to read.

To every babe: Turn, turn, turn.

Let your child be in control of turning pages. If your child is too young to turn the pages independently, scaffold their efforts until they become proficient—it won’t take long! This important job will help your little one feel invested in reading and will let you know how much time to spend on each page.

Step out of the comfort zone.

There are some concepts that your child can grasp, but only with a little help from you, Mama! This challenging sweet-spot is where you should spend most of your time when reading to your youngster. You will spend tons of time reading the same stories over and over (especially if your child chooses the books)! As you two progress with an old favorite, your tot will become increasingly knowledgeable about the book. Gradually move forward with more complex concepts and words inspired by the book. This will help your child absorb more insight from the same old stories!

Riddle me this.

Ask your child open-ended questions to initiate interaction during reading time. If your child is pre-verbal, pause after each question and then provide an answer. If your child has a developing vocabulary, ask your child to point to or label pictures, or ask questions about the story’s meaning.

Make new connections.

Hey Mama, you know your child better than anyone else in the world! Take advantage of this knowledge by helping your child make connections between stories and their own personal experiences. Even the youngest infants have experiences from the day they are born. Using previous experiences to make connections promotes understanding at any age.

Don’t force it.

Just remember…the most important part of reading with your child is to make sure your child enjoys it. Ultimately, the goal is to foster an intrinsic love of reading that will last a lifetime. If your babe isn’t in the mood to read, wait a while and try again. If you are going through a phase where your little one never seems interested in reading, you aren’t alone! These phases usually don’t last long. Be persistent and your child will be back on the reading express in no time!

Join Motherly

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

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Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

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Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

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There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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