I don’t know about you but I love reading with my little ones. There is nothing better than curling up with a book (even though sometimes it's the same book over and over and over again!)
Reading to your little one is a great way to spend some lovely bonding time with them but it also has some real life long benefits.
It’s been shown that the more words your little one hears in their first few months and years of their life the better their language skills are likely to be later on.
Of course you are sure to be exposing your baby to words all day long, as you converse with them, other people or sing them a lullaby. Reading to them builds on this and tends to include words that you may not usually use in your day to day life. For example all of the wonderful animals in the Gruffalo (not to mention the Gruffalo himself of course).
So when should you start reading to your baby?
The answer is it’s never too early to begin. Your baby learned to recognise the sound of your voice when they were still in the womb, so they will adore having you sing or read aloud to them from the moment they are born.
Of course your newborn won’t be able to understand what the words you are saying mean. But the different sounds and rhymes help to stimulate their hearing and lay foundations for listening skills in the years to come.
To begin with reading to your baby is mostly about letting them hear the rhythm of language so they can pick up on the different tones in your voice. So you can read pretty much anything to them and they will enjoy it. Even if it’s a magazine or your favorite book.
Once you little one is a few months old they will be fascinated with bright colours and sharp contrasts so this is a great time to introduce some colourful board books. There are some fantastic ones out there with different textures and sometimes mirrors which can be fascinating to baby.
Repetition helps your little one to build their language skills. That’s why it is great to read your little ones favourite stories to them over and over again (even though it gets a little tiring for you!)
Research shows that interactive reading is a great way to build a child's vocabulary and understanding. So look for books with built in activities like flaps to lift, sliding partitions or peep holes.
Nursery rhyme books are another safe bet, these were always my little ones favourites as babies. Little ones love the sing-song rhymes and it won’t be long before they are trying to join in with the songs.
The most important thing is that you and your baby both enjoy the experience. Watch for cues to see when they are ready for some snuggly story time, read his favourite books, and give him time to point, pull or feel what’s on the page.
The more you read the better, but don't put too much pressure on yourself. Just taking a few minutes here and there is enough in the early days. Make sure you both enjoy the time you spend together.
Some wonderful first books are The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Hello Peter, when baby is a little older there are lovely lift flap books like Fox’s Socks and the rest of the Tales From Acorn Woods series by Julia Donaldson.
All of the gift sets that we have include a very special book, if you are looking for the perfect gift for the little one in your life then you can check them out here.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog today.
Have a fantastic day!