One thing I knew even before Baby Ollie was born is that I wanted to make sure that reading was important in his life. Beyond the developmental components that reading to a baby delivers, reading was a big part of my childhood and I knew that I wanted it to be just as important in my little boy’s life. Additionally, being in the learning and development world, I know that readers tend to become lifelong learners and leaders, something else I wanted to promote for my kiddos.
In 2014, The American Academy of Pediatrics states that literacy promotion in the household is an essential component of primary pediatric care and advocates for reading to newborns.
Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.
So why would we not want to read to our little ones? Sometimes it’s just plain hard to make sure that it is our daily routine; however, I have found 5 easy tips to make sure reading is a part of Ollie’s daily life in hopes that he will love reading for the rest of his years.
Tip #1: Make it Part of Your Bedtime Routine
My absolute favorite time to read-aloud is right before nap or bedtime. It is a great way to tell Baby Ollie we are ready to bed and it is time to calm down. Plus I love the extra snuggles before we all go to sleep. Our nighttime ritual is typically bathing, lotion, pajamas, reading, and then feeding. We alway sit in the same rocker in his room with the lights dimmed and read by his bed stand light.
Tip #2: Read While You Wait
I always keep a few books in our diaper bag so that when the moment arrives, we have them on hand. They are great to pull out at a restaurant or at the doctor’s office to keep us company and include a unplanned story time in the moment. I also make sure that they are the type of books that I won’t get too upset if they disappear at a sitter’s house or at daycare. These two books with received free at his pediatrician’s office and they are perfect!
Tip #3: Sing and Read
You have a captive audience during bath time, so use these moments to play with language. Babies love songs and rhymes so sing the stories that you have learned from reading. This will allow just another time in the day to have your baby connect story, and song, to a pleasurable experience. Baby Ollie loves baby time and sometimes we will tell stories through his bath toy characters. This allows his to soak on more language and connect with words over and over.
Tip #4: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
I stumbled upon this article the over day and just fell in love with it. I know some parents hate reading the same book over and over to their kids as they grow into their toddler years; however, it is actually super beneficial. By repeating the same book over and over, it helps your children develop a better vocabulary and word recognition, pattern and rhythm, fluency, comprehension, and confidence.
Right now, we are reading one book a season every night as part of our bedtime routine. Pippin the Penguin is the most adorable rhythmic story about a penguin in the snow… perfect for winter and we’ve loved it so much we have continued it into summer. No judgement here. Ollie sits in my lap every night and holds his own Pippin as we read. As summer continues along, we will find a new book to read over and over every night. I look forward to our “bed time book” may more than even he does at this point!
Tip #5: Play with Books
Keep your baby books in your home where your baby can reach them and encourage them to play with books. We have books on a reachable shelf in his nursery and in his play room. I try to keep an assortment of board books for him to explore through and, of course, chew on. The nicer books with paper pages and ones that I want to keep nice are on high shelves but still visible in each space. Right now he loves turning the pages on his own!
Weaving stories into baby’s routines each day will help create a future reader and lifelong learner. Run, grab a book, and read to your little one today!