Do you know how important is it to read books to the baby/toddler every single day?
I introduced books to my little man around his first birthday with a pang of guilt in my heart that I am a little late in doing so. Contrary to my view, people mocked at me and I was accused of treating my 12 months old like an older kid. I was told that my idea of introducing books to him at this vulnerable age is crap as he is too small for it. According to these people, this is too early for him and he will get to know about the world of books when the right time will come.
My point here is why people think that introducing books will create a stressful environment for my baby and will stop him from having all the freedom and fun that he deserves at this age?
Why are books considered as a burden?
For me reading books to babies aloud and showing them colorful pictures of animals, birds, fruits, vegetables, transports, shapes and things around us is another activity which starts with babies listening and observing and over a period of time develops into a feeling of love towards the presence of books around them.
When I introduced books to my little one I never expected him to learn everything that is given in the book in fact I just wanted him to feel the pages, flip them, observe the pictures and purposely pick his book himself when he finds it lying in one corner of the shelf.
Importance of introducing books To babY early
They learn to value books
First and foremost benefit of introducing books at an early age and making it a part of baby’s routine will teach him that reading is something to be enjoyed and later in life when he will move into the formal environment of school he will not take books as a protocol that has to be followed without escape. This attitude will foster an attachment and acknowledgment towards books that will stay with him throughout his life.
Helps in building Vocabulary
Many studies have also shown that children who were read as newborn tends to have a richer vocabulary and they performed better at the academics level too.
Helps in developing Social Skills and Communication Skills
When your baby sees you reading aloud, making your pitch go up and down while expressing different kinds of emotions, taking out different sounds and using multiple facial expressions to express the situation helps in improving his power of observation and thinking skills. Your baby develops communication skills when he imitates those sounds, touches the book, flips the pages, gets a feel of it, pinpoints a picture, tries to recognize a picture, give a response to your questions and learn new words.
Strengthen the bond between parents and babies
For me, the most important reason why I prefer reading a book to my baby is that it helps in enhancing the bond between the baby and the parents. When you read aloud to your baby with joy, excitement, and involvement they begin to enjoy your sounds and gestures. They start loving this special time spent with you which helps in building your relationship with them.
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HOW TO READ BOOKS TO YOUR BABY
Okay, now you know why you should read books to your baby and what long term impact it can make to his personality. Now the question arises is how to read books to a baby and how to keep him engaged at this tender age?
Don’t worry it is pretty easy. There are three simple ways to do that.
- You just need yourself, your baby and a few books to keep him busy and engaged in this lucrative and fun activity. Fix a particular routine for reading books to him. This could be any time of the day- Naptime, bedtime, bath time, potty time, traveling time, feeding time or anytime. Bedtime is one of the best time to perform this activity as if performed every day your child will start associating the reading time with the sleeping. He would know that after reading the book he is supposed to go to sleep.
- I always carry a couple of my baby’s favorite books in his diaper bag whenever we are out. He loves watching his books while sitting on his car seat. It keeps him engaged for some time and also soothe him when he starts getting cranky.
- Make the whole reading session a fun activity for your child. Sing rhymes, dance with her, make funny animal sounds, read with a variety of expressions, pitch your voice high and low or occasionally cuddle your baby – make this special time with your baby an enjoyable experience for him. Encourage him to imitate you, ask your baby questions, read and repeat. All this is going to help in developing his communication skills and would prove to be good for him in the long run too.
What to read to your baby
For infants, you have so many books around to choose from as at this age they just have to listen so you can read almost anything to them. But make sure it should have some rhyme, rhythm and should involve repetition of words.
As your baby grows older, get him colorful and chunky board books or touch and feel books. There are a lot of pop up books, mirror books and different texture books available in the market but make sure the books are colorful, bright and attractive with clear and understandable pictures. You can also create your own photo book for your baby by cutting and pasting the pictures of the family member and pets on a colorful background. Babies enjoy recognizing their closed ones through pictures.
Recommended Books for Babies:
- Baby Touch: Peekaboo
- Baby Touch: Flip Flap Book
- Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?
- Good Night Moon
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Dear Zoo & Friends)
TIP: Spread books around the house like on the table, near your child’s bed, near his feeding chair, in his toy basket or any place which is easily approachable for him. This way he will get a feeling that books are a significant part of his life and he would start cherishing its presence the way he cherishes his toys.