Every parents wants the best for their baby. They spend countless amounts of time, energy, and money to make sure their child is as healthy and happy as possible. But what if one of the best things you could do for your baby was easy and free? It is - read to your children daily, starting at birth - or even before. The library is here to help.
Many studies have proven the cognitive and emotional benefits of reading to children beginning at birth. Some studies have even shown benefits of prenatal reading. The evidence is so overwhelming the American Academy of Pediatrics has developed reading recommendations for parents of young children to be included with other health guidelines. The AAP recommendations state "Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens the parent - child relationship at a critical time in children development . . "
That little book you share with your baby packs a lot of power. Reading to babies stimulates language development, visual abilities, listening skills, imagination, and small motor development as babies start to handle books. Sharing books introduces babies to a variety of new experiences, sighs, sounds, and concepts. Sharing books with your baby also helps build a special bond between adult and child. It provides a time for physical closeness and undivided attention. Reading combines your baby's favorite sound - your voice with your baby's favorite sensation - your touch. Books can also be used to calm babies and ease transitions. Naptime and bedtime are often favorite times to share books. Books are also portable. They easily fit in a diaper bag, stroller, or backpack. Finally, boardbooks are great discovery toys for babies as they experiment with turning pages, lifting flaps, stacking and knocking them down, and of course, mouthing them.
If there were a food that was that good for children, every store shelf in town would be empty. Yet, despite all of the benefits, only about 60% of parents read to their young children daily. For some parents, it may be confusion about what to read to a baby. Just like adults, babies develop definite ideas about what they like and don't like, so expose your baby to many types of books. Books with rhyme, rhythm, and repetition are sure hits and help develop your baby's sense of language. Books with simple colorful pictures and books that identify common objects are also good choices. Sturdy boardbooks that encourage baby's hands-on experiences will also become fast favorites. Need more ideas? Check out our current book display or ask the librarian for recommendations.
Most of all have fun with your little one. Children who associate reading with happy times become life long readers and learners.