It’s never too early to read to your baby.
Reading with them from an early age can help with the development of language which roots itself in their brain before they can talk.
Evidence has shown that reading with your child and developing a love for reading can have a positive impact later in life, including academic and emotional wellbeing.
It’s a wonderful bonding experience that can happen throughout childhood and create readers for life.
But how do you start? It can seem quite daunting to know how to read to a baby, how to engage them and sometimes how to keep them still but here are some top tips from Kayleigh, our Practitioner in Isleworth, on where to start.
Read anytime, any place
Reading stories doesn’t just need to be at bedtime. This can be a great time to introduce books to your baby, but you can introduce at any time. I used to take a couple of board books out in my bag so whenever we were on a train or bus or even to extend the time I had to drink my coffee I would bring the books out. Now my children are 4 and 7 and one of our favourite activities is to visit the local library and check out some books. We then go to the coffee shop and pick one to read together. It’s a lovely time for all of us.
Another great place to introduce books to your baby is in the bath – you can get some great waterproof books and it’s a great way to get your babies to start to turn pages working on their fine motor skills too.
It can be as short as 5 minutes
You don’t need to sit down and read a full story, you can choose a time when your baby is calm an alert and share a short book. You can increase the time spent as your baby’s attention span increases.
Use different voices/sounds/songs
Babies love the sound of your voice, sometimes it can feel daunting reading a book to a baby and not knowing how to read, what to read and if they are even enjoying it. The same as with nursery rhymes, you can change your pitch, accent, tone, volume to keep your little one engaged and maybe even bring out a few laughs. Even now with my children, they love it when I change my voice for the different characters. Though sometimes I forget who I have used for each character and need reminding.
When your baby is little – under 6 months, you can read anything to them, they are listening to the sound of your voice, your inflections and tones and so you can read a news article, a recipe, a magazine article. Once they get to around 8 months or so, you may find that their concentration has extended to sit through books, turn pages, enjoy the story and point to things on the pages.
If you read a book every day to your child, by the time they are 5 years old they would have been read to 1825 times.
What a thought! Now realistically this would be Dear Zoo 300 times, The Gruffalo 150 times, WOW! Said the Owl 73 times, Stick Man 243 times, Supertato 200 times, That’s Not My…..457 times, Each Peach Pear Plum 236 times & The Dinosaur who Pooped series 166 times!
Remember – babies learn through repetition and imitation and before you know it, your little one will be retelling their favourite stories, remembering phrases and lines from the story and using the pictures to tell their own story.