Mommy, please read me a story? Petra Marais

A toddler, 18 months to 3 years, is the time of “Terrible Two’s” and being BUSY!

The toddler years are characterised by fast emotional changes. One moment the little one will still be cheerful and excited and the next moment he sobs as if his heart is breaking about a toy that is gone.

The everyday living world is now a very interesting place filled with new experiences. Staying seated is out of the question– there are simply too many new things waiting to be discovered!

You will soon discover what type of booklets your child enjoys.

Toddlers enjoy the physical and emotional closeness when Mommy or Daddy reads him/her a story – it is special quality time!

Read stories in which the main character masters a certain skill.

Stories should still be short.

Replace the main character’s name with your toddler’s at times. They have the ability to become steeped in the experiences and victories of the character.

The stories should relate to the world in which the toddler lives, so that he/she can easily identify with it, e.g. ride a bike, fall, but eventually master it.

One golden rule is that a story for children of this age, should always have a happy ending! Tension can mount slightly and emotions may change, but the ending should always be good and satisfying to calm down the pre-toddler’s emotions.

Illustrations in story books may also contain a bit more detail. Sometimes they are fascinated by the smallest detail in a picture!

Make your child aware of the value and correct handling of books. Set a good example by not leaving books lying on the floor or stepping onto them, but returning them to the book shelf. It can be your pre-toddler’s special task to put away the books after you have finished reading.

After reading a story together, you may ask your toddler to page through the book from the start and re-tell the story by using the pictures. In this way you can determine how much of the story was grasped and which part he/she enjoyed the most. When your little one pages through the book, you can also assist and show how to page carefully, without damaging or tearing the pages.


☺        First 100 animals. (Lapa Books)

☺        Otto goes to circus. (Eric Hill)

☺        Loeks the pig. (Martine Osborne & Axel Scheffler)

☺        “Wat is jy Kartoffel”? (Marga Jonker & Alzette Prins)

☺        There is something under my bed! (Steve Smallman)

☺        Naptime without Teddy. (Jessica Meserve)

☺        What do bears do? (Lapa Books)

☺        Milestone series books: “Die Mangelvanger” and “‘n Boetie vir Natasha” (Martie Kruger)

Adapted from the article originally published in My Child and I, Winter 2012


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