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When you think of the activities that you can do with your baby, you think of cuddling her, feeding her and playing with her. Reading probably does not even feature on the exhaustive list of things that you plan on doing with your child. But, trust us! Reading is one of the best things you can do with your baby. Even if your baby is just a newborn!
Reading is addictive to those who revel in its pleasures. It is an addiction that is encouraged and provides you with numerous benefits and does absolutely no harm. Inculcating the habit of reading books from an early age is very important for your baby. And it is not just so that your baby will excel in academics when she grows up. Reading to your baby has benefits that surpass mere academic interests and will help your child to grow and develop in many different ways.
Today, we shall take a look at reading as an activity that you can share with your baby. We shall talk about the benefits of reading books to your newborn. We will also discuss how and when to read to your child. We shall also provide you with an age-by-age guide for the kind of books that you can choose for your baby.
The benefits of reading to your baby
Reading to your newborn may seem like effort wasted. But reading to your baby even if she is a new born creates a deep bonding between you and your baby. The baby will be soothed by the sound of your voice. It also helps in making your baby healthy. Research shows that when the parents read to babies who were in the NICU, they have the same intensity of bonding and intimacy that the parents and a healthy new born share.
Reading To A Baby Prepares Her For Actual Reading
Babies that have been read to, find it easier to read on their own. Babies may not understand the words or their meanings, but they do notice the tone, inflections and the rhythm as you read. This will help him be familiar with reading. When the time comes, he will be able to read easily than his friends who have not been read to.
Reading To A Baby Helps Boost Her Brain
A baby who is often read to by her parents tends to have a larger vocabulary when compared to her peers. And it is not just language. The babies that are exposed to reading are seen to possess better math skills.
Reading Makes Newborns Respond
A newborn doesn't have much to respond to. She responds to what she sees, feels and hears. It is seen that when babies are read to, the babies are very responsive. They respond or communicate by corresponding arm and leg movements with the rhythm in which you are reading.
Reading Helps Babies Emote
Babies are not very emotional, at least not in the sense that adults are. When you read, you expose your baby to emotions. You do it by making voices for a particular character or reading a dialogue with the emotion that it conveys. This helps create empathy and feelings in your baby and contributes to the well-being of the child.
Reading Opens Babies To Visuals
As a baby grows, the baby starts to see more clearly. The books for babies are made with bright colours, big shapes and letters. These will intrigue and amuse your child. As the baby grows further, the baby will start to recognize these. Babies that are exposed to reading are better at recognizing letters, shapes and colours than babies that have never been read to.
Reading To A Baby Teaches Them To Associate It With Fun
Reading to a baby teaches her that reading is a fun activity. Your baby will love the time spent reading and look forward to it. When she grows up and enters school, reading and learning will be interesting as opposed to being drab and a chore.
When Is The Right Time To Start Reading To Your Baby?
There is no right time to introduce your baby to the joys of reading. You can read to your baby while it is still in the womb or start as soon as the first day in the world. Your new born won't know what you are talking about but she will reap the benefits of reading nevertheless. The sounds and rhythms of your reading will help your baby have better skills of listening when she grows up. It will also help in stimulating the sense of hearing.
How To Read To Your Baby?
Reading to a baby is aimed at helping her understand the rhythm and the sounds of the language. It doesn't really matter what you read to your baby as long as both of you enjoy reading it. Try to speak clearly and slowly to help your baby pick up the tones and sounds. Repetition is another thing you must keep in mind. It helps in building your baby's language. You can try varying the pitch or using a different voice for each character in the book. This will keep your baby amused and interested.
Interact with your baby as you read. Reading doesn't have to be monotonous. Try and include your baby. Ask her questions even if she is not old enough to understand or answer. You can then answer the question yourself.
Don't try to finish a book each day. A passage, a page or even a single letter will do just fine. Look out for signs of boredom or restlessness in your baby. If you notice them, stop the reading until your baby is ready for more.
Age by age guide for reading to your baby
The First Six Months
Choose books that have very little or no letters. Go for books that have big pictures in bright and contrasting colours. Puppets, peepholes and mirrors are great in a book made for this age group. You can also read from any book or magazine you come across as the baby will be more honed to notice your voice and won't understand what you are reading out.
Seven Months To Twelve Months
By this age, most babies start saying basic words like daddy, mommy, hunger, milk or doggy. She now recognizes the sounds and words. Get books that have real life pictures. Point to each piture and name it. You can also use your hands, voice and face to demonstrate the object in the picture. This will encourage the baby to babble at you too. The baby will learn focus and how to hold a conversation with this exercise.
Thirteen To Eighteen Months
In this age period, give your baby books that have one or two sentences in each page. Try to act out the sectences. If you are reading a book about animals, make the animal sound corresponding to that particular animal. Soon, your baby will start recognizing them and will make the animal sounds for your amusement.
Nineteen Months To Twenty Four Months
For children of this age, the babies learn to take comfort in routine and familiarity. At this age, your child may seem a little partial to certain foods. Your baby may ask you to read the same book again and again. The baby will also repeat everything that you speak. This repletion enables your baby to say new words.