A Guide to Reading Books to Your Baby or Toddler

Reading books to your baby or toddler.
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Babies and toddlers are in constant need of stimulation. And for a good reason - their brain is developing, and their intellectual abilities grow as they absorb the world around them. One of the great ways to bring more quality stimuli into their life and have bonding time is reading to your little one. If you don't know how exactly to do that, where to start, or what books to read, don't worry - we've got you. Here's a helpful guide to reading books to your baby or toddler.

The only things you need to start are a book and goodwill

One of the many benefits of reading books to your baby or toddler is that you need neither specialized knowledge nor expensive tools to begin. It's quite a fun indoor activity that can help you occupy your child during winter. Read out loud for short amounts of time regularly. Depending on the age of your baby or toddler, their attention span can vary. So, don't stress out over reading complete books to your infant. Just read the parts that you both love.

A dad and a baby reading a book.
Reading books to your baby or toddler doesn’t have to take much time – nor should it.

Pick a time when you're both relaxing

Read as often as possible, preferably before going to sleep and napping. Before bedtime, snuggle up with your baby and share a story. Furthermore, establishing a schedule might aid in soothing your infant. It can also be good to read during other times of the day. Pick periods when your infant is clean, well-fed, and awake. Keep a book or two in the diaper bag to help pass the time in boring situations like the waiting room at the doctor's office or the checkout line at the grocery store. You'll pass the time and help your toddler grow into a great human being.

Use the power of your voice and touch to comfort them

Reading a soothing tale to your baby can also be an excellent way to elevate the stress they might be under. For example, when you're moving with your baby, expert movers say it can be pretty stressful, especially if it's a newborn. A good rule of thumb is to bring a book on the road and cuddle up with them in the backseat to calm and comfort them.

When to start reading?

As we mentioned, some parents have trouble reading to their young babies due to their short attention and a focus span. So, most parents don't start reading before the child at least starts speaking in consecutive sentences. However, there are several benefits to reading to your baby from the moment they're born. Babies soak in all the world around them. They get so much new information each second, so you can't expect them to participate in book comprehension in a way an older toddler could.

But, it's important to note that their language development is greatly aided by exposure to the sounds and rhythms of speech. So, reading to newborns is a beautiful method to do just that. Listening to your voice can be pretty comforting and make them feel loved. Their brain will also develop more quickly when you make reading a book a part of their daily life. The only thing you need to pay attention to is choosing the right books and method of reading to a certain age.

Two kids and their mom.
Children in different age groups need a different approach to reading.

Focus on texture with newborns

Reading complex and long books won't do much for babies nine months after birth. At this stage, it's appropriate to offer books with exciting textures and flaps since kids this age like exploring with their fingers and tongues, and eyes. No need to worry about page order or the book's ending while reading to a newborn. If your infant allows you, pretend the book is a toy and read as much as possible.

They learn a lot through their other senses

Encourage your infant to explore books by holding and touching them as they grow. While you shouldn't actively encourage it, it's OK if your baby explores books by placing them in their mouth. That is how your child will learn about books, including that they can't eat them.

Grabbing and babbling stage

Face- and shape-filled vinyl or fabric books are perfect for the grabbing stage. After your infant shows interest in what's within the books, introduce board books depicting infants or other familiar items like toys. Find easy tales about everyday rituals like bath-time or bedtime when your baby learns to sit in water or eat finger foods. When your baby first begins to babble, choose books with easy-to-repeat phrases or words.

Don't be afraid to level up as they grow and develop

Of course, the time will come when you'll have a toddler in your arms, and that toddler will have some extra stimulation. Soon enough, they'll be able to participate in simple discussions about the tales you're reading. And after a while, they might show interest in learning how to read. Remember that this stage might come sooner for youngsters whose parents read books from the earliest days.

So, don't be afraid to help them level up, even if it might seem to you that they are too young for them. Listen to their interests and desires - those will tell you on what level exactly your toddler is. Then, when you figure that out, buy them a book as a gift, and continue to encourage their curiosity and love for books.

A kid reading a book.

          Eventually, they’ll want to explore Wonderland on their own!

Reading books to your baby or toddler will help them in many ways

Making this your daily practice from a very early age is not only a fun activity. It will benefit your child in a lot of ways:

● supporting their brain development

● improving their social skills

● helping them feel empathy

As you see, there are many good reasons to start reading books to your baby or toddler. So, what are you waiting for? Take your little one on the road to Wonderland. 

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