Hey! I just met you, and this is crazy… but what are you reading to your baby?
I start off by placing this disclaimer right here.. I am a teacher by training and at heart. I have a Master’s Degree in Remedial Reading and Language Arts… my undergrad studies are in English. It probably comes as no surprise to you that I was the kind of mom who packed a book in my hospital bag before having each of my babies and I read to them from the day they were born.
When my babies were born, the days got busy and they looked like little squishy bundles who seemed to sleep, eat and cry. They certainly didn’t seem to be paying attention to the books I was reading anyway. Why was it important to make reading part of our routine? The thing is that as moms we know that time escapes us… the little habits that fall out of our daily schedules often go by the wayside, and are even more difficult to reintroduce when the time is right. The fact is, if you stop reading to your baby, how will you know that it’s the right day to start? I was so afraid I’d somehow forget to start reading, that I just started on day 1, and made sure we read every day from that point on. I also had this feeling that maybe they were listening.
The truth of the matter is… your squishy little baby is listening, to every single thing you say (a lesson I learned the first time a four letter word came out of Rjs mouth). From the time they are born they are listening. They are watching and soaking in every word you say. Reading to your baby is a great calming and bonding experience, but also opens up huge opportunities for your baby to hear language and vocabulary and to just hear your voice!
Whether it’s luck or not, I’ve also grown 3 kids who LOVE to read… and when asked how I got them to be that way, I just can’t help but attribute it to our every day reading! From the time they’re super small, you’re modeling that reading is a good, warm experience and can even be a social one. Before long you’ll see him/her sitting on the floor flipping through, or chewing on their own little books as they explore reading themselves… or piling up all their books and flopping right into your lap “Mommy a boop”(as Ellie says when she wants to read). When you model being a reader for your child, and practice reading with them… I just believe they have a much greater chance of becoming independent and excited readers.
So this leads us to the big question- what are you reading to your baby?
I actually come from the camp that it doesn’t really matter what you read, just that you read. Sure we have tons of board books around the house and we read them on repeat all.day.long… but the truth is her bedtime story is actually the only time of day I have to sneak in my reading in. I sit down next to her bed, hold her hand, and read to her. Currently we’re reading “You are a Badass.” Maybe some of the positive vibes from the book will float into her little head and she’ll grow up knowing she can have all that she desires in this world. At very least, I’m reading and she’s listening.
Here’s the takeaway, in case you’re a busy mom looking to get the whole gist of the article in the last couple lines- Read to your baby (and kids)… model reading yourself because they are listening… even if you’re reading “You are a Badass.”
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This book is absolutely amazing!