It’s understandable for one to believe that kids are too small to understand someone reading to them. But that ain’t the purpose of reading alone. Reading to your baby helps build vocabulary, stimulates imagination, and improves communication skills. The more you speak to your child from the get-go, the better it is for her growth and development.

You don’t have to wait for your child to grow up to a certain age to read to them. From early infancy, reading to your child can have multiple advantages. It enhances their sound recognition and introduces them to the concept of numbers, letters, words and stories. It also helps boost their memory. The simple funda is that the more words she hears, the better she’ll be able to talk, whenever the time comes.

Besides these skills, reading is a great way for family members to bond with the babies. Reading books is comforting and fun and the babies get a chance to feel that cuddling with you.

What type of books should I read to my kid?

Children can be interested in different types of books depending on their age, development, temperament, and life experiences.

  1. Babies like books with interesting things to look at and touch, something that is appealing visually.
  2. Toddlers like books that make noises and have fold-out sections they can lift to reveal hidden surprises. Audio-visually fascinating books attract toddlers.
  3. Preschoolers appreciate books with funny words, and interesting stories, not to miss rhymes and colourful pictures.

Subjects like animals, princesses, baseball players, fairies and magic entwined with instances with children like them are particularly of interest to children. You can check out your local library, bookstores, and friends’ bookshelves for some exciting books for kids.

Here are some general guidelines for reading to your kid:

  1. Read close to your baby until he’s a year old. In the initial six months, she will mostly enjoy looking at pictures of shapes, faces and numbers in different colours. By the time she starts making sounds, it’ll be great if you can talk and sing to her. You can use different voices to depict various characters and even act sometimes to grab their attention for a longer span of time.
  2. From 18-24 months of age, your child might begin to name familiar pictures and fill in words in familiar stories. She might even “read” to her dolls or stuffed animals and recite parts of stories. When you read, stop to ask your child, “What’s that?” or “Where’s the doggie?” and give your child time to answer.
  3. Your child will be able to turn pages one at a time. He can listen to longer stories and retell familiar stories in his own words. He will also start to recognize letters and numbers. Ask him questions, “How many balls are there? Let’s count them!” “What’s happening now? What’s going to happen?” Look for books that teach children helpful lessons about making friends, going to school, etc.

Don’t forget that reading at a tender stage will always be a fun activity and no kid should be forced to do it.  As a parent, you can try your best to make the stories and books interesting by narrating them in different voices and imitating certain characters or animals.

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