Reading + Language Development
It may seem really odd to be reading to your 0-3 month old, when they can barely hold their necks up. But, reading is important for the early language development of your baby. It also helps establish good habits for your baby from the get-go.
Having a newborn and establishing a routine may seem super difficult. But once you get over that first 6-week haze, and your baby starts to figure out his or her schedule, and you begin to feel a bit more human, trying to establish a routine will only help you make things easier in the future.
Establishing a regular bedtime routine will help your baby learn, especially when they're older, when to wind down for bed. Part of that routine should include reading. Reading, although your baby cannot understand words just yet, will help your baby develop a broad vocabulary.
Babies from 4 months onwards will begin to get curious with mirrors and be mesmerized by colors. Begin with picture books that are age-appropriate. Say the words out loud, slowly, and clearly. If baby wants to touch or feel the book, allow them to. It's part of their learning process.
As baby begins to get older, they will get more squirmy, and will start to bite and tatter the edges of the book, or may hurriedly want to turn the pages. Try not to get frustrated as babies are always going to grow more and more curious. Continue to try reading the books to them. If your partner is around, make sure your partner joins in on this routine so baby knows and feels loved.
Just like you, as an adult can learn a language by immersing yourself in it, babies too will learn their native language by hearing it. Establishing an important routine, such as reading will also help them develop good habits for the future, while also expanding their vocabulary.
By age 1, baby will have learned enough words to develop their language in their native tongue. The importance of speech and conversing with baby is also important. Have conversations with them, and teach them what you're doing.
For example, with Alayna Summer, my 7 month old, when I brush her hair I teach her the word "brush". When she begins to pull my hair, I say, "Hair" and point at my hair and then her hair. Babies will begin to understand what you're saying as you get older. Right now, Alayna Summer understands "Hi/Bye" with a wave, will lean forward and give me a kiss with I say "Kiss", and will give me a High-5 when I say "High-5" and stick my hands out.
As they get older, you can have more fun with it. Use textured books for baby to feel the pictures as they're reading through it. This will help baby stay interested and present with what you're reading.
What kind of books are you currently reading to your baby? Drop a comment below and let me know!