Reading to Babies – Benefits and How to Get Started
You may have started talking to your little bundle of joy from the time when you experienced him move inside your tummy for the first time. Babies can hear when they are in their mother’s womb, and soon after birth, they may recognize their mother’s voice too. This means that babies react to whatever they hear, so don’t you think it would be a great idea to start reading to your baby? If you are wondering on how to go about it, then you need not worry as in the article we shall discuss reading to babies, how you can start it, and how it is beneficial.
When to Start Reading to Baby
If you are thinking that it will be too early to start reading to a newborn baby because he is too small to understand words, then you might be wrong. Babies do pay heed to various sounds they hear, and reading to a baby will make him aware of various sounds and words and will develop listening skills in him. Apart from that, it is a great way to spend some mommy-baby time too.
Benefits of Reading to a Baby
If you are wondering why reading to babies is important, then read the following points mentioned below. You will understand how it the benefits a baby:
1. It is a great way of getting a response from a baby
As soon as you begin reading to your baby, you will notice that after a while your baby might respond to your voice by moving his arms and legs. This is a baby’s way of letting you know that he is registering what you are doing for him. Thus, reading is a great way of triggering a response from your little munchkin.
2. It helps strengthen the bond
Reading to your baby is a great way of connecting with your little bundle of joy. When you read to your baby, your voice is gentle and soft. Your voice has a very calming and soothing effect on your baby and it helps your baby feel loved and protected. Hence, this mom and baby time can strengthen the bond.
3. It helps in the development of the brain
In a study, it was established that babies who were read to in the initial stages after birth had better command over a language and had an enhanced vocabulary. These babies showed better mathematical skills too. Also, in another study, it was observed that babies whose parents talked to them a lot in the initial days, performed better in the standard tests by the time they reached kindergarten, in comparison to parents who didn’t invest much time talking to their babies.
4. Inculcates the habit of reading
Although your baby may not understand or comprehend whatever you may be narrating to him, he assimilates the information about your tone, rhythm, and inflexions of your voice. In a research, it was established that when a baby is exposed to more number of words or vocabulary, it helps in preparing him to begin reading on his own.
5. It is a great way to expose a baby to visuals
As your baby grows, his eyes are able to focus more and he can track various objects. Also, from birth to about three months of age, your baby may be able to focus on various pictures and patterns in a picture book. Babies start recognising various shapes and patterns as they grow. Hence, the more you read to him and show him picture books, the more knowledge he will have of various patterns.
6. A good habit is inculcated from an early age
When you read to your baby, you are not only reading out from a book, but you are laying the foundation of a good habit in him. As your baby grows, you will see him looking for books and reading them on his own. By observing his family sharing some fun reading time will help your baby understand that reading is a fun activity.
7. It makes a baby aware of different emotions
When you modulate your voice while reading and use various facial expressions, it helps your baby understand about various human emotions from an early age.
8. It prepares a baby for school
Though it may be a bit too early to start talking about school, it is important to understand good habits die hard and if your baby is surrounded with books from early childhood, then it will be an easy transition to school too.
How to Read Books to Babies of Different Age Groups
Here’s how you can practise reading books to a baby as he grows:
1. 4 Months
At four months of age, your baby does not show that much involvement when you read to him. However, it will be a good idea to cuddle and circle your arms around your baby and then start reading to him.
2. 6 Months
At this age, your little explorer may be more interested in grabbing, fiddling, and licking the book, let your baby do all that and help him get acquainted with reading.
3. 8 Months
By this age too, you will find it difficult to grab your baby’s attention because he may be more interested in holding the book and turning the pages. However, it will be a good idea to exercise patience and continue reading to him.
4. 12 Months
Around this time, your baby may show more interest in the books and may even point at various objects, imitate various sounds etc. while you read to him.
Additional Tips to Follow While Reading to Your Infant
Here are some tips that may make reading a fun experience for you and your baby:
- Your baby will love it if you use different sounds and try voice modulation while narrating a story, therefore don’t be hesitant to read the story with voice modulation. Make animal sounds, cry, whine, and get involved in the story, and your baby will enjoy it and he will look forward to reading sessions.
- You can also use different facial expressions when reading to your baby to make reading a fun experience for your little one.
- Hug and cuddle your baby to make reading a more soothing and calming experience for your baby.
- Bounce, giggle, and laugh while reading to keep your baby engaged as you read to him.
- Keep asking questions, even if your baby does not understand. This will prepare him for later stages.
- When your baby can hold a book, you may let him hold as you read but do not let him put it in his mouth and chew it.
How to Choose the Right Books for Your Baby
Are there any books that you should specifically read to your baby? There is not one definite book that you should choose for your baby, you can choose any fun and interesting book. However, here are some points to keep in mind when buying a book for your baby:
- Pick up a book which is small and can be held easily by your baby, as your baby will enjoy taking the book in his hands while you read to him.
- Pick up a book that has simpler and fewer illustrations so that it’s easier for a baby to comprehend.
- Get books with simpler stories or narrations and which has fewer pages because you may find it difficult to have your baby’s attention for a long time.
- Nowadays, books come in various forms, there are 3D books, books with sounds, and so on. So, pick a book with either of these options, as your baby will love to feel and touch the elements of the book. Books with sounds will also capture his attention.
- Read a story that is rhythmic and engaging because babies like to get involved in something that is more predictable, something like the car goes vroom-vroom, or train goes chu-chu etc.
These were some tips to read to your baby. Reading is a great way to help your baby to learn a language. Reading also helps in the cognitive development of a baby, so pick up an interesting book now!
Also Read: 12 Fascinating Bedtime Stories for Babies and Toddlers