How do I get him to sit still while reading a book?


This is a great question and it’s something that I struggle with as well. I have three children and each of my kids is different.

I recommend getting some duct tape and . . . just kidding.

In seriousness, the main goal is to foster a love of books in general and to spend quality time with your child. So don’t stress too much if your loved one wants to get up and play. Here are some specific tips that you can try:

1 - Make sure the book you are reading is age appropriate. Some books are too advanced for little children. So while it might feel like you are getting ahead by reading your child a college physics text book, you’re better off reading a chi

2 - If your child is an active one and they have a hard time just sitting and listening, give them an activity (like coloring) to do as you read the book. They can certainly still engage in the story!

3 - Let your child turn the pages, and say “Turn the page” every time. Even if your kiddo is little, try hand-over-hand to get them to participate in book sharing more. It allows for good predictability and sustains attention longer.

I encourage parents to share their experiences and best practices by replying below.


I let my child choose the books. When we go to the library,I pick some and he picks some. Then when we go home, he gets to choose the books we read together. Often times, my lo will want to read the same books over and over. I make sure to introduce at least one new book so he can hear a new story.

Sometimes he’s engaged and sometimes he decides he doesn’t care for it and wants another book.


I love the ideas already mentioned.

I try to read during different times of the day when my patience can vary as well. For example, during the weekend when our schedule is much more flexible, I try to read with my 4 year old during times when he can ask a ton of questions and he can move all around the room. I do pause if he’s not paying attention at all and remind him that we’re reading book together so I can stop and wait until he’s ready to finish the book. At night we always read before he goes to sleep. This is a time when I read to him while he’s already in his bed. If he has a lot of questions or seems to fidget I let him do either a little and then remind him that we can read this same book during the day when we have more time for lots of breaks, questions, etc. Perhaps it’s luck but at night he’s sits still really well.


@susan It’s great that you read on the weekends. What we’ve seen with both the Starling and the reading app is that parents are more engaged on weekdays. From interviews, it seems that weekends are time for relaxation and it’s also when parents are less scheduled so habits like reading tend to be less consistent.

Personally, I love weekend mornings (assuming we had a good night sleep) as it is the time when my kids are most calm and willing to sit still.


I usually follow my daughter’s lead. If she is fascinated by opening and closing the book, then we stop the story and continue to “open” and “close” the book. No matter what you are doing, sometimes I just adjust to what she wants to do.

Some snippets I got from the 30 Million Word Challenge Book that have been helpful (This book led me on a search, where I eventually found the Starling. “Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns”


I regularly have to remind myself, especially at night when I’m tired, that my goal is for my kids to love books and reading. In practical terms, that means I can forget that “getting to the end of the book” isn’t necessarily a productive goal if one or both of my daughters has the wiggles or wants to play with a picture book that doesn’t have any words at all. In other words, I try to make sure they’re having fun and that usually keeps them still(er) than they might otherwise be.