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I’m aware of all the amazing research around the importance of reading to your kids starting as early as possible, and we’ve been doing pretty well at our house. The problem is that my son, who’s 22 months, only wants to read one book, Little Blue Truck, over and over again. It’s gotten to the point that I can read it with my eyes closed and, while the minute or two of shut-eye is appreciated, I’d honestly rather read him the phone book because this is so excruciatingly boring.
How do I get him to stop spinning his wheels and move on to being interested in… literally anything else?
Little Blue Rut
Hey, Little Blue!
This question comes up pretty frequently in regards to toddlers, whose love of repetition is based in their love of a predictable situation. It’s comforting to know exactly what’s going to happen, and when you’re small and new, there’s a general lack of predictability in this world. (Okay, true when you’re not so small anymore, too.)
I don’t know where your child is verbally, but one of the best ways to break up the monotony of the hooked book is to start asking your son questions.
“Hmm, look at her face. What do you think she’s feeling?”
If he doesn’t (or is unable to) answer verbally, you can muse aloud.
“Look, there’s a tear on her face. It doesn’t look like she’s smiling. I think she might be sad. What do you think she’s sad about?”
Continue on like this, gently, to expand the experience from one of you performing the book with your eyes shut to you and your son experiencing the book anew together.
Your son might be into this! He may also reject the whole thing and prefer for you to continue in the predictable way, and that’s okay, too. While it may not seem like it, there will come a day when he wants to read something else. In the meantime, look for books that have the same elements as the book he loves: A sing-song rhythm, rhyme, and characters that are familiar can be a great bridge out of your rut.
If your son is verbal enough to express it, you could ask him specifically what he loves about the book. Children tend to notice tiny details, or give weight to things we never would have considered. His response may surprise you!
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