There is nothing more magical than welcoming your child into the world. Introducing them to life is scary, thrilling, challenging, and completely enchanting, and books are wonderful companions to have along the way.
You may have begun reading to your little one during pregnancy, in which case your child has already begun absorbing the wonder of words. But now that they are here in your arms and can turn the pages with you, stories can stimulate more senses and continue serving as a developmental foundation during this early stage of your child’s life.
Here are 5 ways to enhance reading during infancy:
Now that your child can see the amazing artwork that so many children’s books hold, be sure to pick stories that incorporate color. As children grow, they love to identify colors, which can be a great tool for introducing things like emotions.
Speaking of emotion… show it! Babies are extremely receptive to emotions. If a character is feeling happy in a story, then make a happy face. If they are feeling sad, you guessed it: make a sad face! Introduce your baby to the vastness of emotions. They will learn from both watching and mimicking.
Sing, Sing, Sing…. and Dance!
Music and rhythm will continue to be important tools for your child’s development. Listening to music can help strengthen your child’s ability to process speech. It can be especially valuable to listen to music that incorporates other skills. For example, the classic children’s song, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” also teaches kids about the sounds farm animals make. Pairing music with other lessons and information like this actually strengthens neuro pathways in the brain. Lastly, while listening to music is great in itself, it is extra beneficial when your child is actively engaged in the music. So get up and dance! Clap along, make faces, and introduce movement into your singing sessions.
Pick Books With Touch
Another way to make reading more engaging for your newborn is by incorporating touch into storytime. There are many children’s books that have different textures on each page so that your child can begin associating words and objects with their sense of touch.
Read Physical Books
Read physical books rather than e-books. This is important at any stage of life, but particularly during the first formative year. In fact, children younger than 18-months do not benefit from screen time, unless it is a video chat to see a loved one. During this stage of life, there is no need for the glow of the screen to wash out the magic of the page.
Looking for some good books for your newborn? Here are some of Book Nook’s favorites!
Traditional Books to Read to Newborns:
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse & Barbara Lavallee
Chicka Chicka Boom Boomby Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Contemporary Books to Read to Newborns:
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle & Jill McElmurry
The Crayons Book of Numbers by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
Jane Foster’s Black and White by Jane Foster
Press Here by Herve Tullet
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada & Mae Besom
Dellamonica, Mozelle, et al. “10 Reasons Why Music Is Important for Early Childhood Development.” Cambridge Montessori Global, 2 Mar. 2019, https://cambridgemontessoriglobal.org/10-reasons-why-music-is-important-for-early-childhood-development/.
“Tips for Setting Screen Time Limits as a Parent.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Feb. 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/screen-time/art-20047952#:~:text=Developing%20screen%20time%20rules&text=If%20you%20introduce%20digital%20media,doesn%27t%20work%20as%20well.