“When do I start reading to my child?” “Isn’t my baby too young to understand the words?”, “How will books affect their development?” These are just a few of the questions parents have when it comes to books. It’s never too early to introduce your baby to the written word. Even if they can’t grasp the meaning of words, it helps nurture their love for books from an early age. Experts believe that exposing your baby to books in the first year is vital to facilitate their intellectual and emotional growth.
To help you get started the right way, we have put together a list of FAQs from new moms:
Q1. When do I start reading to my baby?
A. You can start as early as the day they are born. Pick up books with bedtime stories and read it aloud while snuggling up next to your child. The rhythm and tone of your voice will help him/her recognize that different words have different meanings. It lays a strong foundation of speech and comprehension.
Q2. What is the ideal time to read a book to my baby?
A. The best times to read to your baby would be while nursing, bathing, before nap time and at the end of the day. You can even read to them while waiting at the doctor’s or in a shopping line. It keeps them from getting cranky or bored.
Q3. How can I keep my baby from getting distracted?
A. There are a few ways in which you can keep your child interested in the story. Try the following tips:
- Modulate your voice and give each character a specific tone.
- Make sounds like growling for lion, splash for water, tring tring for phone, etc.
- Ask them questions in between like, “What did the monkey say?” or “Why did the princess get sad?”, etc.
- Let your child flip the pages of the book.
- If you have a toddler, then you can encourage them to tell the story.
- Show them pictures of characters and animals in the book and ask them to identify them.
Q4. What type of book should I choose?
A. There are many types of books that are available in the market. You can choose one based on your baby’s age.
- Board Books – These are books with cardboard pages, colourful pictures and short phrases, making it easy and interesting for children older than 4 months.
- Vinyl Books – These are water-proof books with attractive pictures that are great for bath time storytelling. They are suitable for children over 6 months of age.
- Flip Flap Books – These are interactive books with pictures where the pages can be flipped. It’s an engaging way of teaching children above 12 months about animals and things.
- Touch & Feel Books – It’s a feel-good book for babies over 6 months. These books use different textures to teach children about different animals and things. For instance, it will have a patch of wool to teach them about sheep.
- Musical Books – These books are great for interactive storytelling. By simply pressing a button, you can make characters come alive. It keeps your baby interested and helps them associate sounds with different animals or things.
- Puppet Books – These books come with finger or hand puppets that make storytime fun and entertaining. Every page has a peekaboo hole where the puppet characters slide in. It keeps the toddler interested and encourages them to participate in the storytelling.
Q5. How often should I read to my baby?
A. Reading to your baby should be a daily affair. The more you read to them, the faster they pick up words. Try reading to them at least once every two days.
Q6. How do I get my baby to like a book?
A. Remember that for your baby, it’s the first book they ever read. To make it your baby’s favorite one, keep rereading it to them as often as possible. Soon they will start recognizing similar sounds, characters, and before you know it, they will be aping the sounds you make. If you are reading more than one book to your baby, then see how they react to each book. Which one makes them giggle or get excited. Once you know which book, they like better, the rest is easy.
Q7. What if I don’t finish reading the whole book?
A. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t finish a book. The key is to get your baby familiar with words and sounds and to help them connect it to the real world. So, even if you read just one page, it’s good enough.
Introducing your little one to the world of books early in life, has a sea of benefits. Remember the more important thing is to have fun and bond with your baby through the stories.