March is Book Reading month, but what does that mean to you? We’ll cover five benefit of reading to your baby that may surprise and delight you. Last fall, we listed our favorite books, but now it’s reading month, and there are more books to read!
Stories you are reading to your baby teaches them more than the storyline. Books can guide children on simple things like going potty, or helping mommy and daddy. When chosen carefully, a book’s words can also guide children on right and wrong, and kindness to others. Or, your stories can be magical, fun, silly and joyful. Reading to your baby also helps them develop language skills, express emotions, develop security, connect with you and get a head start when they go to school.
Learning a New Language
Early books for toddlers are full of engaging rhythmic verse and colorful images. Children listen and learn before you know they are absorbing what you read. What they are learning is a new language. Hearing the books read aloud helps babies understand how to use words they might not hear in regular daily conversation. According to pediatrician Sarah Klein, MD, of Cleveland Clinic, “It [Reading] gives them the tools for forming lifelong social and emotional skills.” It is never too soon to read books and bring words to life. After all, words are the building blocks of language.
Your reaction as you read and the expressions on your face teach your baby how to express their emotions. They mimic your expressions and sounds, which helps with early brain development. Because you are reacting to things outside your normal household, you are broadening their emotional experience through yours.
Establish a Routine for Reading to Your Baby
Routines help babies and toddlers learn self-control and balance. Knowing something will happen at a certain time, a snack, nap or reading time, gives babies and toddlers emotional stability. If you get into the habit of reading a book at bedtime, the book will signal your child that it’s time to slow down for sleep. People of all ages, from infant to seniors thrive on routine.
Bonding While Reading to Your Baby
Go ahead. Pick up your cuddly little munchkin and a book and read aloud to them. Your baby will feel safe and warm and your connection will only strengthen. Babies actually love and learn from repetition so reading the same books over and over is fine.
School Success With Daily Reading
An OSU article revealed both vocabulary and social advance kids who are read to daily. By the time children are five years old, if they were never read to, they would have heard 4,662 words. If they were read to one or two times a week, they would have heard 63,570 words, and daily, 296,660 words. Hearing words helps build a language network in a baby’s brain. It is as important as nutrients to brain development. The words heard when you read to your baby are more complex and different from words normally heard at home. When you expand the book topics you are reading to your baby, you can teach your child about concepts like numbers, letters, colors and shapes. Your baby is building listening, memory as well as language skills. What is more, you share information about the world around your child through reading to your baby.