When you bring your newborn home, it’s hard for them to keep their eyes open for more than a few minutes at a time—let alone listen to your favorite novel you always dreamed of sharing with your children. But while the book club may have to wait a few years, there are some amazing benefits to introducing the spoken word and books to your infant.
“These early rituals, even before a baby knows what a book is, set up reading as a loving and nurturing interaction with you that your child equates with books as they grow up,” Tovah P. Klein, PhD, director of Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success, previously told Motherly.
You are helping your baby lay the foundation for future skills.
Tone & Inflection:
Your newborn may be missing the context of the words you are reading, but they are still picking up on other essential elements of language, such as tone and inflection. And, according to a 2017 study, book-reading during infancy was a strong predictor of future literacy skills among preschoolers.
You are helping to promote neural connections.
Vision & Concentration:
Your baby was born with an amazing amount of brain power, but they aren’t quite ready for the Ivy League yet. During the first weeks, months and years of life, their brain will be working overtime to make important neural connections. But while much of this happens automatically (and even in in their sleep!), there is still much you can do to help—and reading is a great place to start.
Starting with high-contrast toys such as books, which can help promote your baby’s vision and then concentration skills, before advancing to more “complex” books, such as ones that tell simple stories or identify words are great ways to stimulate those reasoning skills they are developing.
You are establishing a wonderful routine + association.
QT with your Cutie:
The best part of reading with your baby? Creating those loving, cherished memories&emdash;even if they fall asleep halfway through the story. But don’t think your baby doesn’t notice: By making a habit of reading together, you are helping them associate books with affection and happiness. As Klein told Motherly, “The important piece is that books are part of your routines and loving time together.”
You've got this.
Motherly + Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.