This Literacy Month, we shared just how important stories are for your child's development. But what if they simply don't like reading, no matter how hard you try? Could you actually bribe them into loving books?
According to researchers, you can – as long as you do it in the right way. Because while some kids will naturally love books and reading, others may need a little "jump-start", says the New York Times.
"Bribing" doesn't actually mean paying your child to read. Short-term, material incentives may encourage kids to pick up a book or two, but the moment the money stops flowing, the reading will too. Instead you can offer incentives that trigger a long-term love for books and literature.
Here are five ways to bribe them into wanting to read:
1. Bond over books
Give your child some special, one-on-one time by reading together. You can start by making story-time part of your toddler's bedtime routine. Snuggle up with a book, point to the pictures, use funny voices and encourage your child to "read" the story back to you. This is great for bonding, for early vocabulary building, and for teaching kids that reading is a joyful experience.
As they get older, set some time apart each week to discuss the books you're reading. Talk about the stories and characters and ask them what they like and dislike about the book. This also encourages critical reading.
Read more: 10 ways to use stories to bond with your kids
2. Let them read scary stories
Frighten them into reading! Horror stories are great tools for teaching children about fear and getting them excited about reading. Just make sure the books are age-appropriate.
Read more: Should your child read horror stories?
3. Get them a personalised book
Want your kids to disappear into their books? Buy them a custom book that features their name and favourite things. Or, if they're feeling creative during the school holidays, encourage them to write and illustrate their own storybook.
Read more: Put your child in the story
4. Make going to the library a fun outing
Libraries are often portrayed as stuffy buildings where unfriendly ladies keep telling you to be quiet. This doesn't have to be true! Make your next trip to the library or bookshop a lot more fun with our library scavenger hunt.
Read more: 5 reasons to go to the library
5. Become a family of bookworms
If you're an avid reader and your house looks like an overstocked charity bookshop, then chances are your family already has a culture of reading. But if you've never really been a reader yourself, picking it up now could be an excellent way of inspiring your kids to read too. Young kids love to copy mom and dad!
Don't know where to start? Join Goodreads for suggestions, or take on Popsugar's annual reading challenge. Or work your way through our list of recommended reads with your kids. Many of these children's books are classics, and adults love them as much as kids do.
Read more: Tips for encouraging reading
What do you do to get your kids to read? Do you still visit the library? Tell us about your family's reading habits! firstname.lastname@example.org.