Let’s Read, Baby!

It’s never too early to start thinking about cultivating a love of reading. But how can you do this with the little bundle all swaddled in a blanket in the cradle?

Read to your baby. Even if you’re reading the New York Times to your newborn, he will not only enjoy hearing your voice, but will learn about sounds and patterns of sounds. Change the inflection of your voice, and read with feeling.

Tell your baby stories. You don’t need to be an expert storyteller or to know every detail of a fairy tale. Simply use your imagination and tell your baby a tale. Even if you’re talking about grocery shopping or changing his diaper, your baby will attend to the changes in your voice and will expand his vocabulary.

Your very young baby will prefer faces to any other pictures, so choose books accordingly. Consider books with textures and bright colors. As your reading, change the inflection of your voice, or make different voices for the different characters.

Make reading routine. Read a book or two to your child before nap time or bedtime every day. Be sure to follow your baby’s cues for when he’s had enough, though. Make sure your children see you reading, too! Children will imitate what they see you doing regularly.

Once your baby can start to handle books on his own, make sure he has lots of board books he can play with. He may chew the edges and not really understand going from start to finish, but the more you read the books out loud with baby in your lap, the more familiar he will become with a routine. After a while, try skipping a page of his favorite book, and you’ll see that he has already memorized it!

As your baby gets older, be sure to keep lots of books at baby-level (not on a high shelf). Allowing your baby to manipulate and play with books, in addition to reading books to him, will set him on a path to the love of the written word.

Take your baby to the library. Often the children’s department will have programs for different age levels. Ask a librarian for book recommendations, and tell your baby all about the wonders found behind a library’s doors.

Literacy is about more than just reading words on the page. Understanding conversation and context are also part of the equation. Every interaction you have with your baby – from birth on – helps baby to read signals around him, from body language to feelings to vocabulary and more.

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.

10 Best Bedtime Books

You might be surprised to learn that beyond providing for your child’s basic needs, not much of what you do in these early years is predictive of how your child will perform in the school years. Not much, that is, except for reading.

Beginning a nightly routine of reading to your baby from as young as birth is one of the best ways to develop language skills and spark your little one’s imagination. Plus, the earlier you begin reading to your baby, the more likely you are to nurture a love of reading that will endure well into the future.

So if you don’t have them yet, here are 10 bedtime books you should be adding to your personal library to choose from during that nightly bedtime routine:

  1. You Are My I Love You, Maryann K. Cusimano: This sweet and rhythmic board book reads like a poem and features adorable illustrations.
  2. Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown: This classic from 1947 belongs on every child’s bookshelf.
  3. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak: Made into a movie, this children’s book calls for a dramatic reading that will have your kiddos completely engrossed in the story.
  4. On The Night You Were Born, Nancy Tillman: Another rhythmic read that has pages which almost read like lyrics, On the Night You Were Born aims to spread the same message that many of Tillman’s books are focused on: you are loved, and so very, very wanted.
  5. The Napping House, Audrey Wood: Following a pattern that children will delight in, this is a book that also allows for all kinds of interactivity throughout the reading. For instance, teach kids to put their finger to their mouths and say, “shhhhh,” every time the line, “Where everyone was napping,” is read.
  6. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin Jr.: Kids love repetition, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear provides just that, alongside covert lessons on color and animals.
  7. I Love You, Stinky Face, Lisa McCourt: This book will have your kids laughing at the various imaginings of a little one who is clearly trying to delay bedtime.
  8. Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney: Another classic that will have your little ones reveling in just how much they truly are loved.
  9. Tickle Monster, Josie Bissett: Tickle Monster is a fun and lively book that will have your kids giggling in anticipation. Just make sure you plan on reading a more mellow book after this one!
  10. Llama, Llama, Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney: The tale of Baby Llama’s bedtime panic is sure to have your kiddo cuddling tight just before lights out.

Have a favorite bedtime book? Please tell us, we’d love to hear what it is.

Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.