Reading To Your Baby
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The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of The Walt Disney Company Africa Ltd. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s).
The benefits of reading to your baby abound – creating special moments for you to connect and bond and doing wonders for development. Instilling a love for reading from an early age is something that you will never regret, and that will serve your child in countless ways throughout life.
When to start reading to your baby
The truth is, it’s never too early to start. Experts recommend that you read to your baby from early infancy to encourage language development. Make reading a part of the daily routine, and start with short reading sessions that you can extend as your little one grows up.
But my baby doesn’t know any words yet
Don’t let a vocabulary of zero get in the way of a good thing. Babies respond to the sound of your voice, and learn the rhythm of the language even if they don’t understand the content. With time, words will be added to your baby’s vocabulary, but appreciate that in the early stages, they are learning different sounds and responding to the tone and pitch of your voice. New-borns who are read to, often go on to have a greater vocabulary later in life than those that aren’t.
Cuddling is part of it
The best part of reading for young babies is the closeness they have with you, and the undivided attention. These moments do wonders for the relationship between you and your child, and teach your baby to associate reading with happiness. For the same reason, using audio books or television is simply not the same, it’s your voice and your presence that your baby needs.
What should you be reading?
Your choice of reading material will depend on your baby’s age. In the early days, attention spans are short and it’s wise to opt for short stories from a baby book or even a bit of poetry. You can also use early infancy as an excuse to catch up on your own reading, since the actual content is of little significance at a very young age. Later on, your baby will take an active interest in the book itself, making books with colourful illustrations and textures useful. Plastic or cardboard books can help if your little one has a taste for chewing books. Once your baby has some understanding of content, encourage interactivity, asking them to point to or identify certain characters or objects. Vary your voice for different characters, and convey meaning and emotion with your voice.
The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.