We all know that it is important to read to our kids, but many parents don’t realize that you should read to your infant. Many parents think it is too early to read to them because they don’t understand the words.
Those parents would be wrong. There is no such thing as starting to read to your child too early. You can even start reading to your baby before she is born to help her learn your voice. Even dad can read to her so she can learn his voice.
There are many more benefits to reading to your infant as well.
- Bonding with your infant. If you read to your infant this time can be one on one bonding time. This can be bonding time for mom, dad, or even grandparents. Reading to the baby can be a great way for dad to bond with the new baby if mom is breastfeeding.
- She is learning to read on her own. Even though she doesn’t understand what you are saying she can pick up the tone and the rhythm of the words. She is also watching you turn the pages and learning how a book “works”.
- She will be more likely to enjoy reading when she is older. If you read to your infant early on and continue to read to her on a regular basis until she knows how to read on her own, she will be more likely to enjoy reading. This means she will read more and not only because she has to for school.
- Boosts brain development. Kids who were read to earlier in life have stronger math skills and a larger vocabulary than those who were not read too until they were older.
- It exposes them to emotions. Your infant can pick up on the different tones in your voice while you are describing what is going on in the book. This is something they cannot get through listening to music or watching television.
- Develops imagination. Reading to your baby helps them develop an imagination. Once they start learning what the words mean they try to picture them in their mind, just as you do when you read a book. Since most children’s books are make believe anyway, this helps them develop and use their imagination.
- Visual stimulation. Most books that are meant for infants and children feature bright and bold colors. These are great for stimulating your infant visually and as your little one’s vision develops she will learn to recognize familiar shapes and colors.
- Associate reading with love. If you read to your infant on a regular basis she will start to associate reading with love. It is a time for her to be close to you and you close to her and she likes that comfort and she knows you love her.
- Teaches them that reading is fun. If you read to your infant it teaches them that reading can be fun and it isn’t a chore or just something you do for school.
- You can read whatever you want. Since your infant doesn’t understand the words you can read any book, magazine article, or even blog post (including this one if you want) if you are tired of children’s books. Just read it out loud and your baby will benefit. Just make sure to switch back to children’s books once she starts understanding the words, around one year old.
Reading to your infant has many benefits both in the short term and the long term. It is never too early to start to read to your infant, and even late is better than never. If you want some tips on encouraging older kids to read you can check out “5 Tips to Encourage Kids to Read“.
Do you, or did you, read to your infant? Why or why not? If you haven’t had your baby yet, will you start reading to him or her?