In today’s world of virtual interactions, nothing can beat the warmth of snuggling next to your children and reading with them. This simple yet endearing practice can help your child in a number of ways.
Infants whose parents read to them regularly are able to say and understand more words than those whose parents do not. A child who is read to experiences stimulation in the part of the brain that helps in understanding the significance and meaning of language. This is essential in not only reading but in everyday communication too. Starting a bed time reading routine is a great idea for both parent and child.
Reading to your little one helps in different aspects of your baby’s development.
Social and emotional development
Your baby hears you using different emotions and expressive sounds which support the social and emotional development in them. Making your voice go higher or lower where it’s appropriate, or using different voices for different characters, helps in engaging your baby and builds the curiosity of exploring more
Enhances language and communication skills
A bedtime reading routine at any early age is incredibly useful in developing language and communication. By witnessing interactions between the characters in the books you read, and by interacting with you during story time, your baby gains valuable communication skills
When kids are read to, their observation, visual and motor skills are enhanced. By consistently reading to your baby every day, your baby will learn to concentrate and sit for longer periods of time, which can help later on when they go to school
Provides quality time with your child
Spending time together while reading develops a healthy relationship with your baby and they learn to express themselves better. The feeling of being close to you and your focussed attention will strengthen the bond between you and your baby
Boosts imagination and creativity
Reading is one of the best hobbies to have. It opens up the window of imagination by encouraging curiosity through creative story lines and relatable characters
When to start reading to your baby
It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Research suggests that the sooner you start reading to your baby, the more positive impact it will have as your baby grows.
You can start to read to your baby in the womb. This serves the developmental purpose of your baby to get familiar with your voice, and your baby will love listening to you talk, sing and read aloud from the moment he/she is born.
What to read
During the first few months of life your baby just likes to hear your voice. So you can read almost anything, especially books with a sing song or rhyming text. Even reading your own book or magazine out loud while you feed will keep them entertained.
As your baby gets more interested in looking at things, choose books with simple pictures against solid backgrounds (high contrast images and graphics). Books with mirrors, pictures of babies and different textures (soft, spiky, crinkly, scratchy) are great. Soft, waterproof books that can go in your baby’s mouth and into the bath are a good option too.
How to read
The great thing about reading is, it doesn’t need special skills or equipment, just you, your baby, and some books. Read aloud for a few minutes at a time, few times a day. Do not worry about finishing the entire book, instead spend some time on every single page to help your baby focus on the image and ascertain which page your baby enjoys the most.
Try and read every day, preferably before bedtime and nap-time as it gives you and your baby enough time to cuddle and connect. It also sets in a routine that will help calm your baby. Choose times when your baby is fed, dry and alert.
Also try to minimize environmental noise such as TV sounds from background as babies are not born with the ability to efficiently process auditory information, which makes it difficult for them to pick out important sounds in a noisy environment.
You need to have considerable patience if you want to help build your baby’s future literacy skills. When you turn reading into a daily routine, you will instill in your child a love for books. You are not just teaching your baby new words or language, you are teaching them to enjoy books.
Finally, parents should also enjoy the book they are reading to their child, because “shared enjoyment” starts with “the parent’s enjoyment”.
Play with Purpose !!