While it is true that most of parenting involves real work, some of parenting is pure pleasure! Right from birth cuddling up with your baby and a book not only feels good, but strengthens the bond between the two of you. Holding your baby, coaxing responses from him, talking and singing, and showing pictures in books, actually contribute to the “wiring” of the still developing brain.
As you read, your child begins to pick up the rhythm of language and build a vocabulary. The soothing sound of your voice can calm a distraught child and make sleep time more relaxing. Taking books wherever you go can help keep your child engaged when waiting for doctor appointments, during trips to the mall or long car rides.
How to Read to Your Baby
- Cuddle up and get comfortable.
- Use a pleasant sing-song voice.
- Vary your volume according to the storyline.
- Change the sound of your voice with each character and mood.
- Vary your tempo according to the action of the story.
- Point at pictures, repeating names of animals, characters and objects.
- Interact with your baby by asking questions.
- Allow your baby to touch the book and turn pages.
- If your baby loses interest or gets tired, be accommodating. If a baby is forced to sit still and listen, negative feelings toward reading could be fostered.
- Make reading fun! If reading is fun, your child will want to do it more often.
In choosing books for your baby, consider books with simple repetitive text and clear colorful pictures. As your baby begins to explore, thick board books are more durable. Babies also enjoy books with mirrors and different textures along with pictures of faces and familiar objects. And don’t forget that every baby should have their very own book of nursery rhymes in order to experience the rhythm and fun sounds of his language.