IMPORTANT NOTICE: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. Growing up milks are formulated to meet nutrition needs of healthy young children older than 1 year and should not be fed to infants.
Don’t wait until your bundle of joy starts talking to read him books and stories, rather introduce him to this important habit and make it an addiction from early childhood! Studies often show that reading books to babies is more than an excellent way to get close to them, teach them different sounds, develop their language and communication skills, make them love reading and prepare them in a way or another to school age.
Don’t delay making reading a constant part of your child’s daily schedule, and benefit from his interest in rhythms and sounds like most children, to develop his love for knowledge and make him enjoy his time with you and your repeating words and sounds.
At the beginning, read stories to your baby for just few minutes. But, as time goes by and your baby grows older, extend his reading time limit. And whenever you want to read your baby stories out loud, make sure you sit with him in a quiet place, away from all sorts of distractions like television and radio, and try to animate the characters of the book you have in hands through voice imitation and pretend play.
It is to be noted that children appreciate different types of books depending on their age, growth, character and experience. Babies for instance, like the types of books that motivate their vision and touch, whilst toddlers prefer the books that make sounds or include hidden surprises.
Here are some tips to follow for an enjoyable and beneficial reading:
From birth till one year old:
- During the first few months after birth, hold your baby close to your chest and just sing, read and talk to him.
- Between 3 and 6 months of age, when your baby begins looking to his own mirror image and to pictures of faces, forms and colours, and starts making sounds and reaching pictures, choose him books with strange textures and interesting pictures.
- Between 6 and 12 months of age, when your baby sits in your lap looking at pictures, trying to touch the book you hold in hands and put it in his mouth, choose him plastic or carton books. And while you read to your child, make sure you point to the pictures in the book and name them.
From one to two years old:
- Between 12 and 18 months of age, your toddler may enjoy choosing the book, holding it and even trying to turn its pages. Just benefit from this fact and continue reading to your child until he loses concentration.
- Between 18 months and 2 years of age, your toddler may start to name familiar pictures and fill in the blanks with words he knows. He may also begin to read stories for his toys and puppets. At this stage, you will have to interrupt your reading, ask your little one about the story’s incidents and characters, and give him some time to respond.
Don’t delay following these tips so your little angel will have a hobby that will stimulate his cognitive skills as a child and give him plenty of opportunities once an adult!
Read More: Your Newborn Development From A To Z
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