Do you want your child to grow up in love with books?
Whether the child is still in your tummy, just about to learn to chew a page or even someone who can read a book on her own, you can always start instilling the important habit of reading.
Baby In Your Womb
At 23 weeks, a baby in a mother’s womb can already hear sounds. So when the mother or father talks to him, he responds by moving around or kicking. Have you observed that?
The baby’s cognitive development starts while still inside his mother’s womb. Studies have shown that there are some sounds and smell retained in the baby’s memory after birth. You can be a part of this early development by talking to him, singing to him, and reading his books.
Reading storybooks to your baby is not only a way to relax but can also be your bonding time together. Mary Ann Abrams, M.D., Reach Out and Read’s Medical Director, agrees to this. She said, “Reading a book to your newborn is a one-on-one activity that you can really turn into a special time with your baby. It exposes the baby to the sound of your voice, which is soothing for him.”
Reading To Your Newborn
Your newborn may not be able to understand if you read a book to him at this early stage, but when the baby hears the mother’s voice, it excites him. This kind of mother-baby bonding moment stimulates the baby’s interest in sounds and enhances his listening skills. According to a study, a baby who hears his mother’s voice develops powerful social communication abilities.
“A child will be more willing to explore boundaries and explore his world if he knows he can depend on his parents,” shared Peter Gorski, M.D. and chairman of psychiatry and psychology at the Myo Clinic in Minnesota.
Babies have the instinct to make sense of each sound you make. They have their way of finding meaning in every word you utter as you run your fingers through the letters on the book you are reading. Notice how your baby moves his eyes as you let your fingers slide through the pages of the book and how he reacts with giggles and smiles.
He may not yet comprehend each word you say, but his responses are a cue that he loves what you’re doing, and you’re doing good.
Let Your Toddler Teach You
Make reading time fun and creative. Choose books with cute and colorful pictures that will fascinate your toddler’s attention.
Making distinctive voices for each character in your storybook and creating some sound effects will catch your toddler’s attention and he will show more interest in your reading.
Let your reading be interactive by letting him be the teacher. Inspire him by asking him to show you the pictures or tell the story in his own words. Encourage your child to hold and have a feel of the book as he goes through the pages. It’s okay if he will sometimes accidentally tear the pages. Never forget that he’s just a child. Reading time should be as enjoyable as playtime.
A Trip To The Library
For your preschooler, a trip to the library can be an exciting activity. Seeing more books can offer him more choices about books that will interest him. During this time, you can introduce to him how to take care and organize his own books at home.
Aside from fostering an interest in books and reading, this could be an excellent avenue to introduce independence to your children. According to Roger Hart, Ph.D., a geographer and professor at City University of New York, “Changes in the degree of children’s freedom, in space and in time, to direct their own activities must surely have important implications for their development and for society.”
Reading Road Signs And Billboard Advertisements
When you are traveling or on the road, make reading a fun game by reading road signs and other billboard advertisements you see on the way. It is an opportunity for him to learn early on the meaning of street signs. Attractive billboards advertisements can also be a great way to introduce colors and art stuff.
You may encourage him to tell his own story about what he sees or experiences. It doesn’t have to be a long trip. A visit to the mall or granny’s house is an enjoyable experience he can share with the family.
Your child’s brain is very much like a sponge that will absorb every information available around him. Instilling in him the habit of enjoying reading books early on is not only about gaining knowledge but having discipline, focus, and a sense of responsibility.
Reading books is an enjoyable activity that you can continue doing even when your kids grow older. It’s an excellent opportunity for parents and kids to have open communication and share knowledge and experiences.
You’re not just raising a child who is in love with books, but a person who is in love with life.