Benefits of reading to your baby: As a first time mommy to be, just like many of you, I spent my time researching a lot about what I can do to help in the overall development of my baby.
One of the things that I read on almost every blog was that it’s important to start reading to the baby and starting young.
But why read when I can just talk? I can still cuddle with my baby and my baby can hear my voice.
Research suggests that we could start reading to a baby as a newborn. Yes, right after the baby is born!
We can always debate as to the numerous alternatives to reading that we can provide to a child.
But, there are numerous benefits that only reading can give. These benefits of reading to your baby will be seen only as the child grows.
By you investing time to read to your baby consistently. Your child will grow up to be a person who can think and a person who will be able to picturize something when they read.
To a baby, it helps associate what is heard and what is seen
Research suggests that early exposure to books make a long term difference in a child’s language abilities.
Benefits of reading to your baby
The benefits of reading to your baby from a young age is tremendous. Here are some facts about why you should read to your baby
Reading to a baby stimulates brain development:
A Synapse is defined as “A specialized structure or junction in the brain that allows cell to cell communication.
Research suggests that a baby’s brain grows twice as much in the first three years of life. This simply means that the brain creates more synapses in the first three years than it does during adulthood.
While we are in the topic of brain development can you guess one another amazing activity that helps brain development (Synapses). Its Boredom. I can bet you did not know this.
If you have not guessed you should read our article on “I AM BORED” – Surprising benefits for kids you did not know about.
Reading enables the nerve cells in the brain to multiply and connect.
So, What better than reading a book to stimulate all the senses at one go to have a fantastic brain development?
You will agree with me that this Benefits of reading to your baby any responsible parent will not miss.
Reading to a baby engages the babies senses:
A baby’s brain acquires information through sensory input. I’ll put it in simpler terms. Children learn through their five senses: What they hear, see, smell, touch and taste.
Reading caters to 4 of these senses, all at the same time. Baby can hear you, see the image(if there is a high contrasting image). He can smell you and the book and can feel the texture of the book.
The more you stimulate these senses, the higher communication between cells. Which means more synapses are formed.
In about three months, an infant’s power of recognition improves dramatically and this is influenced strongly by the language an infant hears.
But it is important to remember that repetition is key to strengthening a synapse. Just like we need to exercise everyday to strengthen our body.
You cannot read to your child one day alone. It needs to be a consistent, everyday process to facilitate brain development.
Because Synapses that are not used regularly remain weak and eventually get eliminated as the baby grows.
Reading to a baby stimulates Babies’ vision:
Did you know that babies have a blurry vision when they are born? I’m sure many of us have gone to a doctor to get our eyes checked.
The doctor dilates your pupils using eye drops. Remember how your vision was once your eyes were dilated?
A newborn’s vision is similar to that.
It takes 54 weeks from conception day for a baby’s eyesight to develop fully.
Which means till about the baby is 3 months. Considering that the baby was born at 40weeks.
Yes, the right books aid Visual development in a newborn. At birth, the back layer of a baby’s eye (retina) that detects light isn’t fully developed. This is why babies can only see a big contrast between light and dark.
In the process of developing a more focused vision, the brain develops its ability to process visual information
Therefore it is important to intentionally stimulate your baby with sensory input.
Reading books with high contrasting images enables visual stimulation that will aid development.
Reading to a baby stimulates language development:
The American Academy of Pediatrics and advocacy groups encourage parents to read to their children from birth. Because it fosters early learning. It also creates connections in the brain that promote language development.
When you speak to your baby, it stimulates activity in language-related areas of the brain. Therefore when they baby hears a lot of talking the stimulation is more. This in turn stimulates efficient development in the language area of the brain.
As much as it is important to just talk to your baby and engage in storytelling or singing, it is important to read.
Reading enables the baby to associate your words, what they hear with what they see when they read.
Also just like any other area of brain development, the language area also needs sensory stimulus to develop. Reading provides just this.
When you read you unconsciously introduce a huge variety of words to the baby. And not just the ones we use in our everyday lives.
Babies who are read to often show a lot of difference in creatively using language. For example, they are able to imagine and create stories by themselves and find it easier to construct simple sentences.
If you have older children you can read our article on 9 BEST WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR KID’S COMMUNICATION SKILL.
Reading calms a baby:
Many mothers who started reading to their newborns as early as two weeks, claim that using books with high contrast images calms even a crying or a restless baby.
In the first few months, mothers struggle to cope with the exceeding demands of a baby. Try a book next time when your baby is restless. However make sure that the baby is not restless due to hunger or sleepiness.
My 6 month old baby boy settles down the moment I put him on my lap and show him a book. Oh, not just me, he loves it when anyone reads him a book.
What better way for mommies to get some rest while a father can read to the baby and calm him down? Take advantage and let the baby be read to!.
Fathers play a very important role in child’s success. How they contribute is explained in detail in our blog 11 Amazing ways FATHER’S can contribute to child’s success.
Reading time is bonding time:
Reading time is an amazing way to bond with your baby. When you read to your baby, its not just the baby who is engaged.
We as parents have a lot on our minds. While we read to our baby, it engages our mind too. We stop thinking about everything else and focus on a book.
Isn’t it wonderful to give undivided attention to our babies?
Reading is an amazing way in which fathers can bond well with their young babies. Because a baby is stuck to the mother more than 75% of the day.
Dear daddy, read to your little one, show some extra love and gift your time to the one who brings joy into your life! Bond with your baby!
Tips on how to Choose a Book for your Baby
So, now that you know that it’s important to read to your baby. The next big question is WHAT TO READ to your baby?
Black and White Books
By now you know that from 0-3 months, a baby’s vision is just developing and they can recognize only high contrast images.
A black and white book is the best book to start with when you read to your newborn. The contrast will help in visual stimulation. Therefore it will engage your baby.
Choose books with simple images which are sharply outlined. This in turn will send strong visual signals to your baby’s brain.
You don’t have to have a huge collection of books. Just a book or two will do. Read these books over and over again to your baby. Remember, repetition is key.
Books with single images:
Too many images on the same page can be very distracting for your little reader.
Therefore, try and choose books which have very simple images. Initially the images can just be basic shapes.
Apart from black and white books, choose books that are very colourful.
Texture of the Book:
Choose to buy board books or cloth books. These books are comparatively durable than other types. As babies grow and start exploring, they tent to chew on the book and be rough while handling the book.
You don’t have to worry about your baby eating paper with these books. Also, cloth books aid in sensory stimulation when the baby touches or holds the book.
Size of the Book:
It is always better that the books are compact and is easier for your baby to hold it as he grows. Small books are easier for those little hands to hold and move around.
Books that are interactive:
A lot of books come with pop ups and use flaps within the pages. Those books will help your little one enjoy reading because it engages them when they read and allows them to explore the book.
The pop ups fascinate them and the flaps engage them with the book. It makes the book tactile.
- Choose books with real images than animated ones. It helps the baby relate it with the objects they see everyday.
- Choose age appropriate books and books to which children can relate to. For example books on things they see everyday. Things at home, animals, fruits and vegetables, etc
Though till they are three months old just about any book will do, since their eyesight is still developing.
It is important for them to hear your voice. And get into the habit of reading and being read to.
As a new parent, with a lot of responsibilities that come with parenthood it is difficult to find time to sit and read with your baby. It’s alright. Just start as early as you can. Read even if it’s just a page or two, even just once a day.
Do it only if you enjoy doing it and if it will make you happy. Because, if you don’t enjoy reading to your baby, your baby will not enjoy being read to.
As much as you read, don’t forget to let your child play too! Reading comes only second to play at this stage.
Make reading interesting and help your little one associate reading with happiness and not a chore. That’s the fundamental aim of starting to read early.
Happy reading 🙂
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