Reading is one of the most important habits to establish with your baby. The more words your baby hears as her tiny brain develops, the more she will understand the complexities of language, word meanings, emotions, and so many other aspects of this great big world she’s trying to uncover. Plus when you read to your baby early and often you will instill a love for books, learning and discovery that lasts well beyond early childhood.
Today we’re sharing 8 opportunities to read to your baby every day:
Meals: Reading to your baby during meals may be beneficial in more ways than one. If you have a distracted or fidgety eater, reading may focus her attention and encourage her to eat while listening. Plus, you pretty much have a captive audience during meal times three or more times a day so it’s a great opportunity to read to your baby.
Playtime: Have plenty of books around your play spaces for your baby to enjoy. She may mosey over and pick up books to review now and then. Or, you can pull them out and read while she’s busy playing with other things. Just because she’s not sitting in your lap intently starring at the book doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile endeavor to read. You can also pick themed books to whatever your baby is playing with at the time. For instance, if your baby is playing with a farmhouse or some musical instruments, pick up a book that matches those interests.
Carpool Line: Waiting for older kids in carpool lines can be torture for babies…but not if you use this opportunity to read to your baby! Bring along new books each day to keep the selection fresh and interesting. Once you’ve picked up the older kids, let your baby continue to hold the books and admire their pages.
Outdoors: Playing outside at your own home or a park is another terrific time to read to your baby. You can bring along books about nature and point out the real objects – trees, playground, insects, sun – as you read about them on each page. This is an especially great activity when your baby needs a little break from physical play.
Waiting Lobbies: Sitting in the waiting room at doctors’ offices or while the big kids are doing extracurricular activities gets old fast for babies. Reading can help pass the time and may become an anticipated event when you arrive at certain places you frequent.
Story Times: Libraries, book stores and community centers often offer story times for babies through elementary age children. These group activities are a wonderful way to expose your baby to new books in a social setting. While you’re there, check out other books with your baby to broaden your reading list.
Bath Time: Another time when you have a captive audience is bath time. Keep some books in the bathroom to read while your little one is splashing away in the tub. You can also offer bath books that have plastic pages for your baby to “read” in the water.
Bedtime: Starting a bedtime routine of reading several books before lights out is an excellent habit and one you and your baby will likely enjoy for years to come. This opportunity to read to your baby also incorporates closeness and touch so you can connect just before your baby drifts off to sleep.
Many states have adopted the “1,000 books before Kindergarten” program that encourages parents to read at least 1,000 books to their children by age five. Look for reading programs and more ideas for reading to your baby in your area at local libraries and book stores.
Enjoy fostering a love of reading in your baby with these opportunities to read to your baby every day!