Reading with Babies

It can be frustrating reading with babies!  They want to eat the books, won’t sit still and you might think they aren’t listening to what you are saying…..but they are.  I started reading to my boys when they were a few months old.  Some people start sooner but in the beginning I was just trying to get through each day alive!
It’s important to read every day even if it’s frustrating because you are beginning to build your child’s language skills and you are setting up a routine.  If they only want to hear one page of each book but are content to sit, that’s fine.  The key is changing your expectation for reading time….the most important thing is that they learn to sit with you, they know what books are, and they think of reading time as fun.
Here are my suggestions for reading with babies:
  • Keep it short at first.  If they start getting fussy or wanting to move, let them go.  Follow their cues but try to find a similar time each day to read so they begin to learn the routine.
  • Find a few books they love and stick with those for awhile.  My little guy at 9 months has 8 or 10 favorite books.  We read those every day and then I try to introduce one new book.  Sometimes he listens and sometimes he’s done.  I go with his mood and I don’t stress about it.
  • Let them hold (or eat) one book while you read another.
  • Find books that involve the child such as books with textures, sounds, mirrors, buttons or things to push or pull.  I love the classic The Very Hungry Caterpiller because it keeps S involved.  It’s his favorite book right now and when I get it out, he instantly gets his pointer finger ready to stick in each of the holes.  Here are a few others my Baby S loves:
                              The Very Hungry Caterpillar
                              This Little Piggy
                              Barnyard Bath
                              Quiet Loud
                              All Gone!
                              Peek-A Who?
  • Let your child turn the pages.  Help him at first and then expect him to do it.  I ask Baby S, “Ok, turn the page now S,”  and he does!
  • Don’t give up!  Make it fun and remember that if you keep at it, then it will get easier.
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