Reading with your child

It’s never too early for children to start reading; the right book can live long in the memory and help get them hooked from an extremely early age.

Reading is essential for babies’ development. Experts claim that babies respond to familiar faces, voices and being held close straight from birth so even newborns will love being read to. As you cuddle up and read to them, your baby will be soothed by your voice and is sure to respond to the undivided attention you are giving them.

By the time your baby is 3 months old; their senses will be developing further so now is the perfect time to introduce them to touchy-feely stories. As they establish a sleeping routine it would be advantageous for the whole family if you help the little one wind down with a quiet story that will help them drift to sleep. As they approach their first birthday, babies will develop sophisticated fine motor skills and will delight in exploring chunky board books and lift-the-flap titles. They’re also sure to chuckle at any book that finds Mum and Dad making animal noises!

Cuddling up for a story will quickly become an important part of your baby’s day, no matter how old they are! Reading them a book can also help foster a bond between parent and little one that can last a lifetime. All babies and parents can benefit from a peaceful moment spent sharing a picture book – it can be a truly joyful experience! As babies tend to explore and learn about the world around them using all their senses, books that look, sound and feel appealing can be ideal as they provide both an engaging and stimulating experience. Books that come with an array of different surfaces (fluffy, bumpy, crinkly, smooth) add an extra fascinating dimension that babies are sure to be keen to explore. Even before they’re old enough to hold a book by themselves, parents can hold babies’ fingers to the textures and talk about the differences between surfaces to help them learn.

As babies develop into toddlers, they will start to enjoy repeated readings of their favourite books. Although this is sometimes frustrating for parents, it is aiding the child’s development as they really do learn from repetition. Experts say that having the same book read over and over plays an important role in building a toddler’s vocabulary, as well as developing emerging literacy skills such as knowing that words in a book are read from left to right and that books are read from front to back. Learning books off by heart is a big confidence-boosting step for children as they start to become an independent reader. To help them with this, it is advisable to let them choose books themselves, by giving them this freedom you will soon realise the subjects that fascinate them – whether it’s princesses, dinosaurs or cars! But also make sure you include your own favourite books at story time too. Explain to the toddler what you like and encourage them to look at different books and talk about the aspects they’ve enjoyed!

Sitting down with your child is the perfect way of giving them some regular one-to-one attention; it is a simple but effective way of helping your little one feel special and loved. Although the pressures of work and everyday family life sometimes mean it is a struggle to fit it all in, it is definitely worth scheduling in some quality time every day. Even the busiest and most active of toddlers will love to curl up for a story or book of nursery rhymes – whether it’s just before bedtime, after lunch or following a nap.

Thanks to First Time Father for this article.

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