While growing up with grandparents, every night before going to bed was storytime for us. We used to wait eagerly for our day to end, all snuggled up in bed waiting for our grandfather to tell an “imaginative story”.
Stories were a very special part of our bedtime routine until our early teen.
Starting reading to your baby at a very early age enforce positive parenting. Reading aloud to baby and toddler is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive development, but it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.
Almost 90 per cent of a child’s brain is developed by age 5. Your facial expressions, your voice, your touch—everything you do and say in front of a young child—helps your child learn. Read here 4 Proven Benefits of Reading Out Loud to Your Baby.
Reading storybook helps kids widen their imagination, the magic of literature and also create a stronger and warm emotional parent-child bond while also setting the stage for future communication skills.
Reading gives your child a sense of intimacy and well-being. This feeling of intimacy will make your child feel close to you and loved.
Your kid is snuggled to you and looking curiously with dreamy eyes while you read a favourite storybook before you tuck them in and kiss good night. Picture credit I started reading my daughter Noa when she was only six months old.
I got Eric Carle “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and left the book with her to explore. She held in her hand and was happy to explore a new shiny object.
That’s how our journey towards reading a book started. Initially, I took out a book to read. Within a month, she started coming to me with a book to read.
I would hold her, cuddle and read her favourite book. She would point towards different characters, animals and colours she saw in the picture book.
It has been almost three years when I first started and she still comes to me with one storybook of her choice every day.
Benefits of a reading book to the young baby
“Positive parenting activities make the difference for children,” said Dr Benard Dreyer, a professor of paediatrics at New York University School of Medicine.
“Maybe engaging in more reading and play both directly reduces kids’ behaviour problems because they’re happier and also makes parents enjoy their child more and view that relationship more positively,” Dr Weisleder said. You may read the full article here.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents read to their children starting at birth.
Babies respond to their parents’ voices, and it will not matter what and how much you’re reading to your infant.
Even though babies will not understand the words you say, reading aloud to your baby helps them to pick up on tone, rhythm, inflexions, and vocal patterns – even if they don’t yet understand everything you’re saying.
However, they are developing the brain structures necessary for later language literacy by listening to you.
It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Believe it or not, there are benefits of reading to children before they’re even born. Babies can hear their mother’s voice and absorb language before they’re even born—during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, to be exact.
Infant and toddler enjoy books that have good rhyme, rhythm and repetition – and these qualities can help children learn. Books with flaps or different textures to touch keep hands busy. Books with detailed illustrations or recurring items hidden in the pictures are great for exploring and discussing.
Storytime creates a precious time for bonding with your child. It’s all about having fun with books, spending special time together and creating memories.
After all, childhood memories are made from spending quality time together and reading to and with your child that will follow your children from adolescence and into adulthood. There are a few things which might help if you decide to read:
- make reading time be the perfect time to hold your baby and cuddle, cuddling your baby helps your baby feel safe, warm, and connected to you
- take out time to read with your child whenever he/she is attentive and in the mood with undivided attention
- let your child decide how much (or how little) time you spend reading and it’s ok to skip pages. Don’t worry about finishing the book or even turning pages in the right direction. It is great if you can, but if your child wants to stop and hold or chew on the book, that is okay. Just be guided by the interest.
- read expressively by making different voices for different characters, making funny animal sounds and raising or lowering your voice to make it more interactive
- make reading and storytelling fun and interacting so that your toddler looks forward to it. Stop once in a while and ask questions or make comments on the pictures or text
- keep books at their eye-level, so they can reach, take a look and decide what to read. Let you toddler pick his/her favourite book and be prepared to read the same book over a hundred times. Also, be prepared to answer the same question when you flip his/her favourite part of the story.
- Involve your child in reading by encouraging talk about the pictures, and by repeating familiar words or passages
- always carry his/her favourite books when travelling.
- take learning activity outside the home – by pointing towards different animals and birds and telling their names.
- Pick a place to read that is comfortable and inviting, which will help your child learn to connect cosiness and comfort with everyday reading.
I hope my experience help you with your journey of book reading. And within few months, storytime will start to get a lot more interactive, with your toddler repeating favourite phrases, requesting multiple readings of favourite books, and pointing to colours, animals and objects as you read their names aloud.
Storytime will become one of your toddler’s favourite playtime activity. After all, storytime combines some of your child’s favourite things: snuggles, interesting pictures, fascinating sounds and, of course, you.
Each month, I will be writing a Reading Corner post for infant and toddler, featuring some of my favourites read for my daughter, book review, themed books and book recommendations.