• Kristin Hankins

5 Ideas for Busy Toddlers

Updated: Oct 2, 2019


“My toddler is so noisy/needy!" This is an issue many people have trouble with and it can make us avoid read-aloud time. I'm no expert, but I've done my share of reading aloud with a toddler in the mix, so I am going to share 5 things that work for me.


#1 - Fill his or her "bucket" first! Toddlers know when they are not the center of attention, and they seem to do anything to get that title back. Just before your read-aloud time, give your toddler a little one-on-one first. Sit on the floor and look at baby/toddler books together, sing nursery rhymes, or play.



#2 - Snack time! Food is a sure way to keep a toddler quiet. That's why I like to read to my kids while they're eating breakfast, lunch, or during an afternoon snack. Your big kids will enjoy this one, too.

#3 - Finger paint in a bag! Yes, I said the "P" words. But this activity is mess-free! Squirt 2-3 different colors of paint in a gallon-size plastic bag and secure it to the table using painter's tape. Be sure to squeeze the air out, and then let your toddler enjoy some mess-free painting! I do reuse these bags a few times. My toddlers haven't minded the colors being mixed up.





#4 - Blocks, Duplos, etc. Have a designated read-aloud time toy that only comes out at that time. It makes it "special" and gives your toddler something to look forward to. It can be anything he or she enjoys and you're fine with cleaning up. Play-doh, rice, beans, etc. are good, cheap fun, but be careful with those small pieces!



#5 - Utilize audiobooks. Sometimes we are in a season when even the best tips and tricks don't work. Enter the world of audiobooks! While reading aloud is the best for bonding, an unruly toddler can make it a not-so-fun experience. Listening to audiobooks together is the second-best way to bond and to allow your kids to get that auditory stimulation that is so beneficial. This way, you can occupy your toddler with toys, patty-cake, etc., and have an enjoyable experience for everyone.


If you have success with these tips, questions, or have some advice of your own that could help others, please share them. :

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