The benefits of reading to your baby are remarkable. Are you concerned about your baby’s verbal ability? Do you want to ensure that his or her verbal skills develop to the fullest potential?
There is a significant amount of research that indicates that one of the best ways to increase your baby’s language and impact their verbal intelligence is to read to your baby. You can start from 6 months old to incorporate story time as part of the bedtime routine as well as incorporating book sharing into various parts of the day.
Some little ones love stories from the get-go, others seem too busy to sit still for long enough to focus on a story. Don’t worry if your baby falls into the latter group, either way, here are some really easy tips to make reading with your baby an effective part of your day:
- Have a little box or selection of books in a few rooms in the house but definitely in the lounge, the space your baby eats in and his/her bedroom. When you are in that space, offer to read a book.
- At mealtimes use books to district your little one if he/she is getting too busy to sit still to eat. Make sure these books are waterproof so that if food gets onto the pages, you can wipe them clean.
- In the lounge, before reaching for the TV remote, sit down and reach for a book. This is especially useful if you are breastfeeding a younger sibling – let your toddler sit with you at feed times and ‘read a story.’
- At bedtime, make sure that reading a book is part of your routine from early on (6 months)
- Instead of focusing on complex stories or books with words, try to find books with a visual story – great pictures but very few words and use the book pictures to guide a story that relates to your baby’s life.
- Try to schedule 5-15 minutes each day of book sharing – it makes a huge difference to your baby’s vocabulary. It is a case of the more the better!