When you first find out that you are going to have your little bundle of joy, many parents will start planning what type of future they want their little one to have. Some go more in-depth than others with this planning, and all levels are normal. Let’s face it, as parents, we want what’s best of our children and will do whatever we can to make sure they get it.
One of the best things you can do to get your child off on the correct foot is to read to them. I know that it sounds simple, and is probably pounded into you from all sides to make sure that you read to your little one. So much so that it could be common knowledge that this is something that you do as a parent. I am going to say it again, you want to make sure that you are reading books to kids as much as possible starting as early as possible.
To be brutally honest, it is so easy to forget and not read to your little one once they are actually here. Between trying to take care of them, find balance in your own family, and possibly community, as well as trying to have some semblance of a life yourself, reading to your little one is easily skipped.
I am here to tell you, DON’T SKIP IT!!! It is so important that you read to your child daily from the very first day that they are here. Even if it is just reading words off of a package.
Reading is not only entertaining, but it helps your child’s brain develop and grow. When you read to a child, of any age, their mind is engaged. As a baby, they listen to the rhythm, timber, and dialect of your speech. This will help them start to learn how to talk for themselves and lay the groundwork in their brains for learning language, education, and even socialization.
As they get older, and they are able to understand a little of what you are saying, reading to them helps expose them to new vocabulary, sentence structure, and develops their listening skills as well.
As they reach the toddler years, reading to them extends their imagination and engages them in new and exciting ways. This can include teaching life lessons that are easier to learn through a story and play(such as taking turns, sharing, etc.) as well as helping them make sense of their world.
When my son was little, I loved to read to him every day right after he would eat. I did this on purpose because he was satisfied and able to sit still and pay the most attention to what we were doing together. This is something that I still employ today.
Some books that I love to read to him are
- You Are a Star by Ariella Abolaffio
- That’s Not My Llama by Fiona Watt
- Giraffe in the Bath by Russell Punter & David Semple
Not every book that I read to my son is “for his age”. I love to expose him to many different books, stories, and pictures to find what he likes not just about the topic, but the styles and colors of the pictures as well.
I have noticed that he has a tendency to really like the books that I like to read to him. Children are so easily swayed as to what they should like or dislike when they are young. If you do not like to read a book to a child, they will pick up on that and could start to dislike the book as well.
If you are searching for a way to help incorporate reading into your busy day, here are some tips that could help you:
- Try to read to your child right after or right before the same activity every day. It can be as simple as reading a book to them as part of their wind-down/going to bed routine. Or perhaps you would like to incorporate reading into after they have had their nap. Wherever you decide to do it, make sure that you remain consistent. This helps keep reading as part of your daily routine but also makes sure that you do get that reading time in.
- Choose books that are a topic that interests you. I know this might be more difficult for the younger ones, but remember even if they can’t understand what you are reading, they are listening to you and their brain is learning so much just from listening to you read to them.
- When they get old enough, make sure you have books on hand for things that interest them. This helps two-fold. One, it keeps them engaged with reading, which is such a vital skill and building block for later education. Two, it can help make sure you get reading every day since they will be more than likely asking for you to read their favorite books to them.
- Have books on hand in any room you regularly spend time with your child. This makes it so easy for you to just grab a book that is near you if the mood strikes to read to your child. It also helps prevent you from having to go searching for a book to read. Who wants that hassle? Some ideas for book locations are:
Bedroom (yours and theirs)
The books that you keep in each room can even be themed for the room that they are in to make it more interesting for both you and your child. In the kitchen have books on food, restaurants, or celebrations where food is a major aspect. In the bedroom have stories that are more suited for bedtime/nap time. The bathroom could have books on soap, bathing, going to the bathroom, and brushing teeth.
Not only is reading to your child beneficial for their developing minds and self, but it is also a great way for you to spend some quality time with them. Sharing a good book with your little one is one of the best ways that you can spend time together.
I hope that this information has helped you. As always, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.
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