Written By Barbara Seal of www.hypnobambinos.co.uk
How do we get our children interested in books?
I remember the first book that really captured my imagination; it was called ‘The Enchanted Wood’ now known as ‘The Faraway Tree’ written by the famous Enid Blyton. Every night my mother or father would read me a chapter and as well as feeling the comfort of my parents arms wrapped around me, my imagination began to grow, I was hungry to learn to read myself and since then my love of books have never wavered.
So how do we achieve this magical time, when for some of us it seems like an up hill struggle.
Reading with your baby from the start.
It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Babies can recognise their mother’s and other familiar voices in the womb from the third trimester. So reading out loud to them when you are pregnant gives them a head start.
Once your baby is born you may find that they recognise the familiar words of your previous reading. Continue to read to them. They won’t understand the words but hearing your familiar voice stimulates an interest in sounds and helps develop important listening skills.
Why is reading important?
Reading to your baby helps build vocabulary, stimulates imagination and improves communication skills. Reading introduces the concept of stories. It’s also a time of relaxation for you both and helps with bonding. You may even notice your baby trying to fill in some of the gaps so regularly pause to allow them to do this.
What should I read to my baby?
It doesn’t have to be The Complete Works of Shakespeare or Harry Potter. In the first few months baby’s pick up on the rhythmical sounds of language rather than the content. Repetition is good as the familiarity helps your baby build language skills. Keep it interesting and vary the tone of your voice. You can even make books of your own using photographs of familiar family members including pets.
Try to find a regular time of day when you read to your baby so it becomes part of a routine. It’s very easy to forget the importance of the little activities when there is so much going on. When giving your baby tummy time or while feeding are both good times to pick up the a book and read a few pages. And of course don’t forget bedtime. Your baby may even start to turn the pages.
Don’t feel you have to read every page; just talking through a picture in a book may be enough. The most important thing is that your baby is making a connection between your closeness and voice which will fuel his love of books in the future.
What types of books are best for older babies?
Often babies start to have favourite books which can become very tiresome for you reading over and over again but this repetition and familiarity are important for language development.
Colourful pictures and catchy phrases will help your baby to start to vocalise the words. Nursery rhymes, and interactive books are also really good. Choose sturdy board books where pages cannot be torn but instead baby’s can help turn the pages.
Avoid being tempted to download books for electronic devices. Good old fashioned paper books are still the best. So get down to your local library and start choosing.
So now we have some great tips on how we can begin the journey of reading with our children. With each book that we open we are giving them and even sometimes ourselves the opportunity to discover not only about the world we live in but within the author’s imagination.
Some children will sit quietly next to us, some will constantly wriggle, dance around the room, ask questions, and we are left wondering, am I doing it right? The answer is yes of course.
Not all of us have positive memories of reading books so why not as well as books sometimes tell them a story yourself, perhaps reminiscing about happy times within the family or with friends. I still now as an adult enjoy hearing stories that my parents have to tell, either about myself as a child or a memory in their life time. And somehow by listening to stories that we are connected to in someway allows us to have a better understanding of our families and friends thoughts and emotions.
So whether you are reading to your child from a book, your own imagination or a tale from your past remember that you are connecting with your child and teaching them many important life skills that they one day will pass on to their own children.
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