Reading is a lovely way to bond with your baby. Your baby may not follow the story yet but they will love being held by you, hearing the sound of your voice and having all that undivided attention.
Can I watch children’s television with my baby instead?
Babies seem to particularly love sharing books with their parents as it is one of the occasions that they get their mum or dad’s undivided attention. It’s impossible to multitask when you share a book with a baby – they sit in your lap and you have to help them with the pages. When you are both watching television you can text, fold washing or simply be daydreaming and not really interacting with your baby. It’s no wonder that babies will carry books over to their parents to read to them as they feel really close and bonded when they share a book with you. In addition, many paediatricians do not recommend much, if any, television for babies.
What kind of books do babies like?
Sharing a book can be something that starts really early on. There are beautiful picture books for new babies with lots of black, white and red that babies can see particularly easily. More importantly, your baby will love to hear the sound of your voice; it is soothing and calming and they will begin to look forward to their favourite books. Sometimes parents find it difficult to talk to a baby that cannot yet talk; books help to make a reason to talk together. Your baby will probably begin to respond with smiles of delight.
There are so many books that you can buy… storybooks are not that expensive. There are also books and reading games on tablets that can be a fun part of your baby’s love of stories and words. All the talking and listening that you will do while you share a book with help to develop your baby’s social and literacy skills.
Should I read and sing to my baby in my language or English?
We all want our children to speak English fluently. In a bit to do this, most parents don’t communicate with their children in their local languages. If you can spend extra money for your child to learn French and Spanish, why not your own dialect/language? Even if you want your child to speak good English, it’s also good for them to understand your language to an extent.
Share books, rhymes and songs in all the languages you speak. This will really help your baby’s language skills develop. Remember to include the whole family. Sharing books is really lovely for dads and other family members who can get very close to the baby by sharing a book.
Books with songs and nursery rhymes are full of rhythm, repetition and emotion, which really help babies to learn language skills. They are also really fun to read out loud and you get to revisit the books you loved as a child. Stories from your culture and your baby’s grandparents really enrich their imagination. It’s a lovely tradition to pass on stories they way stories have been passed on from parent to child for as long as people have walked the earth.
Sharing books with your baby develops a love of reading. It becomes very much a part of a child’s life so that then when they learn to read it’s much easier because a love of books has been established early on.