Reading books to a baby may is one of the best ways you can spend this valuable first year together.
Here are 10 tips on raising little readers.
1. For 0-3m start with Books with Black and White contrast. Since your baby is born colorblind, Black and White books with simple bold patterns are more stimulating to newborns than colorful busy picture books.
2. Listen to classical music before reading together. Studies show that kids who listened to music before engaging in auditory exercises had much more brain stimulation. This is because listening to music is like doing warm ups before an exercise for your brain. If you read after breakfast, play classical music during breakfast time (while nursing, bottle feeding, or feeding solids).
3. Create a routine. Routines are very helpful for babies to anticipate activities and adjust themselves to this strange new world. The anticipation of “reading time” can help prevent fussiness or “the wiggles” because it’s a part of their daily rhythm.
4. Slip in Reading a book that YOU enjoy too. At this age, your baby cannot understand what you are reading so the storyline is not as important. Pick a book you love or have been wanting to read as a form of self care for yourself in addition to the development of your baby. (However still continue to also read children’s books; since they intentionally use alliteration, rhyming, and other sounds with baby’s first words in mind).
5. Be very expressive when you read. Use different voices for different characters, speak with emotion, make silly sounds and bring the book to life however you can. Your baby is learning the art of communication, such as what it means to speak in high and low tones, quick and short expressions, shrill and relaxed voices. You tone and “HOW” you say it is just as important as “WHAT” you say.
6. If your baby is too wiggly and does not want to sit on your lap during reading time, try rocking them in a rocking chair or allow them to play while you read. It’s better to enjoy reading together while they’re playing then get frustrated or give up reading altogether.
7. Writing & journaling is a great way to help process postpartum and ground your thoughts. One idea is to read your journal out loud to your baby. This can bring another element of healing and gratitude for you to process also. Because you are reading your own words it will be a very personal way to bond together.
8. Place books strategically. Always keep a book (or book case) next to your rocking chair, or by the crib so that it’s easier to remember to read during morning and evening routines.
9. If your baby wants rip apart your book or eat it as a snack, keep a teething toy handy alongside your book so that they have something safe to chew/ play with while you read to them. Perhaps invest in baby books that babies can safely play with & chew on without ripping the material. Water books are perfect- and waterproof so you can even enjoy them even during bath time!
10. Have a reading goal for yourself and your baby. The goal could be to read twice a day for 5 minutes or 5 baby books a day. It could be to finish 1 Chapter book a month. It could be to get through a list of books over the summer. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, as long as it helps encourage you to read together daily.
Bonding with your baby over a book is priceless. I hope you enjoy these tips and have a wonderful time reading together with your precious baby.
What are is your reading goal? What sort of tips help you stay consistent with reading with your littles?