Baby M (should I be calling her toddler M now?) is obsessed with ‘side. She wakes up talking about ‘side. She goes to bed talking about ‘side. She doesn’t care if it’s raining or 95 degrees out, she only wants ‘side.Read more
Today’s post is a guest post by Elaine of Following Augustine! She is sharing the benefits and joys of reading with little ones.
Be sure to check out Elaine’s site at edebock.wordpress.com!
Let’s get into it…
One of the most precious gifts that a parent or grandparent can give a child is the gift of reading. Not necessarily teaching them to read, but reading to and with them. One of my favorite memories from my years of teaching elementary school is that of reading to my students every day. It always saddened me to know that for some children, that was the only time they were ever read to.
It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. While he or she might seem too young to understand, baby will enjoy being close to you and listening to the sound of your voice and will quickly learn to associate this feeling of comfort with books and reading.
Reading to your little one is also a great way to introduce concepts such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way. Instead of simply reading the words, talk about the illustrations and as baby gets older, begin asking questions. “Where’s the puppy?” “What color is the car?” “How many balloons?” Immersing your child in language helps develop listening skills and memory and begins to build a rich known vocabulary even before they start to talk.
At some point, your toddler or preschooler might choose a favorite story that they want to hear over and over again. This might seem a bit mind numbing and you may even be tempted to hide that book away in a deep, dark closet, but don’t do it! According to children’s author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells, “All really good picture books are written to be read five hundred times!” By all means, encourage your child to listen to other stories, but keep on reading that favorite one too. What you read isn’t as important as the fact that you do.
Picture books often repeat key words or phrases over and over again. Even before your child learns to read, they will probably begin to recognize these patterns in familiar stories.
When you’re reading aloud and come to such a word or phrase, pause to see if your child will “read” it themself. As they begin to participate in this way, the excitement of reading grows.
Once your child learns to read on their own, have them read to you or introduce paired reading where you take turns, but don’t stop reading to them. As they get older, you can introduce chapter books, perhaps reading one chapter each day.
This is also a good time to introduce them to a variety of different kinds of stories. You might even be able to share a favorite book from your own childhood.
Make reading with your child part of your daily routine, perhaps before nap time or bedtime. This gives you and your child an opportunity to cuddle and connect and its calming effect might also help your little one fall asleep more easily.
Books are costly, but there are inexpensive ways to surround your child with them. Second-hand stores and garage sales are often good sources of books at very reasonable prices. And then there’s the library, a never-ending source of books for all ages. There, your child can have the excitement of choosing for themselves from a vast array of books.
Many libraries also have story time for babies and young children. While you’re there, you might want to choose a book for yourself too. Modeling reading is a great way to encourage your child’s interest in books.
Reading is the key to lifelong learning. It has the power to take your child to faraway places and opens their mind to a whole world of possibilities. If you can instill a love of reading at an early age, you will have given your child a priceless gift that lasts a lifetime.
Elaine is a retired elementary and junior high school teacher, the mother of three grown children, and grandmother of eight. She has been writing the blog, Following Augustine, for over fourteen years.
Thank you, Elaine, for your post!
Let us know your thoughts below!
Summer is just around the corner and things are looking different since having a baby.
After a long winter we are ready to get outside in the sun and celebrate! My daughter loves to play in the backyard and will soon be headed to the beach to get her first taste of the Long Island Sound.
I’m looking forward to making tons of joyful memories with my daughter this summer.
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I’ve compiled a list of 12 essentials for baby’s first summer! Now bring on the popsicles and fireworks…
The best part of bringing baby to the beach? Picking out those tiny swimsuits! This one from RuffleButts has that classic American style perfect for summer.
I had never heard of this product before I became a mom! It’s a carseat cooler and it’s basically a series of ice packs that you can place in baby’s seat before they ride. We have the UppaBaby Mesa and it gets super hot. There are so many on the market, but Little Bum Coolers have the most stylish prints and affordable pricing.
A fan that grips onto the stroller, car seat, table, and more? I’ll take one too. This one is battery powered and will outlive the infant days.
This splash pad is ready for hours of fun in the backyard. It’s lightweight and the soft plastic makes it easy to fold up when not in use. It just needs to be hooked up to a hose!
I always put a hat on my daughter when we head outside in sunny weather. I do this in addition to sunscreen for extra protection. She’s very fair and I want to protect her delicate skin! She also looks downright adorable in eyelet. This one is only $14.99…
This has been on my list since I was pregnant. I consider this a childhood staple and will outlast the infant stage. This Little Tikes one has amazing reviews. It can be used in the winter, too. Just fill it with snow or bring it inside and create a sensory table with dry rice or pasta.
I’ll be bringing my daughter to friends’ pools this summer and they’ve all recommended a floaty like this. The umbrella is a great way to block excess sun.
These are the Target Cabana towels! They measure 58’x48′, so perfect for a little one. Their smaller size and lightweight material make them a summer essential.
At an affordable $6, I’ll take one in every color.
My daughter has a whole collection of sunnies! They’re a great way to protect baby’s sensitive eyes and are the sweetest little accessory. These flower ones are absolutely perfect.
Last, but not least, what summer would be complete without a kiddie pool? While the plain round ones remain a staple, the internet has provided us with so many more options, such as this affordable dinosaur model complete with a volcano slide.
What are your summer baby essentials? Let me know down below…
“Go by the baby, not the book.”
It’s the best advice I’ve ever received. Before I was a mom I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew exactly what my baby would like or dislike. I would read about the magical connection brought on by baby carriers. I had visions of myself baby-wearing throughout the day, getting things done and soaking up that skin-to-skin contact. Well, my daughter gets overheated very quickly and greatly dislikes the carriers we have.
I read that I shouldn’t introduce a pacifier for a month to avoid “nipple confusion”, but you bet your bottom dollar I was breaking open the binky packaging at 4 am on our first night home. Same with bottles. And teethers.
There are so many “rules” to parenting. So many suggestions. So many apps telling me when and how to feed, nap and bathe my baby. I think I’ve broken almost all of rules the so far. And were doing just fine.
Although I’ve only been doing this for four short months (which is really four years in mom-time), I’ve learned to read my baby’s cues and meet her needs based on this. If she’s vigorously rubbing her eyes, she goes to sleep, even if my Huckleberry app is saying she isn’t due for a nap for another hour. If she’s sucking her hand, she eats. I’m not sleep training. I’m not timing how long she eats anymore.
I go by my baby, not the book. She is fed, clean, well rested and HAPPY. It’s an absolute privilege to respond to her needs and be present for her.
So, go by your baby not the book. They’re going to change the advice in 10 years anyways.
What lessons have you “unlearned” while parenting?