Your baby is never too young to be read to. Sharing stories, talking and singing help stimulate your baby, and by doing this every day your baby becomes familiar with words, sounds and expressions. It’s a great way to bond with your newborn.
Babies enjoy rhymes, rhythm and repetition. Bright coloured pictures or bold contrasts are easy for baby to focus on. Textures also vary – soft waterproof plastic or cloth books won’t be damaged if they go in baby’s mouth or bath.
As your baby becomes a little more aware of their surroundings, their imagination will be stimulated by stories. They can feel the pages and identify the different textures. When reading to babies it is important to use different voices and expressions when relating the story. Have fun and give them plenty of time to look at the pictures and imitate noises or lift the flaps to see what’s underneath. Be guided by your child’s interest and imagination.
Tips for reading with babies
- Make a routine and try to read at least one book each day.
- Toddlers love a bedtime story, let them choose the book.
- When reading, turn off the television or radio, put your phone on silent and try to reduce interruptions.
- Find a quiet place to read that allows the child to hear your voice and focus on the book.
- Ask your toddler to identify objects in the pictures, or to tell you what sound the objects make
Reading is a relaxing and fun activity and increases your bond with the child. Best of all, it’s a nice way to wind down after a busy day.
Listening to stories read aloud requires some level of comprehension from the child which improves listening and language skills. As the child grows, they will begin to recognise letters and words and develop memory retention skills.
Be aware there will be days when your child may not want to spend a long time reading, and that’s ok too.