When I found out I was pregnant with my first son over five years ago, I didn’t run out and buy a cute little onesie. I didn’t buy a silver rattle. Can you guess what I bought?
Yep, I headed to the bookstore and bought three board books. It took a lot of self-control to limit my selection to three!
I can vividly remember reading to my son the first day we brought him home for the hospital. And, I’m happy to say that almost five years later, we still read to him and his brother daily.
But let’s face it, babies spend most of their time eating and sleeping. Is it important that we read to them everyday? Do they really understand what we are reading? Evidence answers that with a resounding YES!
So, how the heck do you weave reading into that repetitive eating/sleeping cycle? Thanks to Cottage Door Press, who is sponsoring this post, I’m happy to share my opinions on how to weave reading and books into your baby’s day.
5 Tips for Reading To Baby
In 2014, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that members promote reading to newborns. Reading aloud to babies from newborns and beyond is one of the biggest things we can do as caregivers to help develop readers.
Tip #1: Read When Baby Wakes Up
Babies are most attentive and engaged when they first wake up in the morning or after a nap. It’s a great time to play, sing and READ with baby. Interactive books with big bold pictures are perfect for this time. Babies Love Animals is a great example of a book that works for this reading experience. The pages are super strong and include thick lift-a-flaps for baby to grab that also hold up to baby’s touch.
Name the picture on each page while pointing to the animal. Eventually, your baby will start to point to the pictures too. It’s a great way to start developing baby’s vocabulary.
Tip #2: Play With Books
When my son had tummy time, I would lay out a couple of toys and a few books. We want little ones to touch, feel and explore books. The great thing about board books is that they can handle baby’s multi-sensory discovery.
Once my kids were old enough to crawl, I made sure to have a basket of books within reach that they could make their way to and enjoy.
The Sing & Smile Stories: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is perfect for little hands because they have a handle to grab, hold and carry.
Tip #3: Read While You Wait
I always kept a few books in our diaper bag. They came in handy when we were waiting with our baby in a doctor’s office or at a restaurant. Two to tuck in your bag include Will You Be My Sunshine and Whiskers & Tails.
Tip #4: Sing During Bath Time
You have a captive audience during bath time, so use these moments to play with language. Sing songs and rhymes you have learned from reading. Let baby stare at your animated face as your sing. Your little one is soaking up language and connecting words with pleasure.
Tip #5: Help Baby Wind Down Before Bed With Books
My absolute favorite time to read-aloud is right before nap or bedtime. It’s a perfect time to snuggle with your baby and read soothing stories. Our nighttime ritual was bathing, feeding and reading. We always sat in the same comfy chair with the lights dimmed and read at least one book. Good Night, Octopus or Grandma Wishes fit the bill.
Weaving stories into baby’s routines each day will help create a future reader and writer. Run, grab a book, and read to your little one!