Experts suggest that you start reading to your baby as soon as you can. Your baby starts recognizing your voice in the womb. So, he or she will love listening to stories read aloud from your voice. The sooner you start, more benefits your baby will get while growing up.
Even though it might not seem like babies can understand the stories, but still they get comforted by the familiarly of rhymes, stories, lullabies from your voice.
When to start reading to baby?
You can start reading to your baby around 6 months of age. Babies develop complete colour vision between 4 to 6 months. So, they start to respond to colourful pictures from age-appropriate baby books. Your baby will also learn to grab things at this age, thus expressing interest in a favourite storybook.
Here is what to expect at the early stages:
At 4 to 6 months:
Your child will learn to grab the object, hold, chew. They also start forming good colour vision at this time. So, anything colourful might grab their attention.
Between 6 to 12 months:
Your baby starts recognizing shapes. Becomes capable of pointing to pictures and objects of their choice, starts mimicking your words and try to flip pages.
Here we have an expert-curated list of books for babies – starting with the New-born to 1 year old.
Even though you may have an older child, and have not started reading to your child yet, not to worry. It is never too late to start. Children are naturally adaptive and extremely capable of picking up on good habits at any given time. So, go ahead, pick an age-appropriate book, and start reading to your child today!
Also Read: 7 Reasons to Read Aloud to your child
Should I Read to My Child Every Night?
Reading to your child before bedtime every night is highly recommended. It fosters one-on-one time with your child after a hectic day. The familiarity of your voice and stories soothes your child as you read aloud. This strengthens the bond and creates an exciting bedtime ritual to look forward to.
In the post here, we have discussed the benefits of reading to your child. However here let us see the benefits to parents. Children grow up really fast and before you realize they will outgrow your reading to them. So, you should cherish and hold on the together time you are getting now, as much as you can.
When you read to your child at bedtime, after a full day of hectic work, you are unwinding yourself also. You are forgetting all about the emails, office work, bills, housework, and immersing yourself in the world of the story you are narrating to your child.
It brings you in touch with your inner child. Reminds you of the much simpler time of your childhood when you enjoyed all the classics. And everything had a happy ending, just like stories you read to your child. This rejuvenates you.
After you finish reading a story, the happiness you see in your child’s face is priceless. The demand for ‘one more’ from your child will tell you that you are doing a great job as a parent. This is a ‘one more’ demand, you would not mind indulging in.
This will certainly be the time when you will stop questing your parenting skills and knowledge that you have done your job right. Puts a smiling end to you and your child’s hectic and sometimes not so happy- day.
Also Read: Turn Your Baby from Book Eater to Book Reader
What to Read to My Baby?
Books should be chosen keeping the baby’s development stages in mind.
0 to 6 months:
Babies can see only primary colours initially. By 5 months, they usually develop a good colour vision. Books chosen at this stage have to be interactive, pop-ups, cut-out, different shapes, feel, etc, and with very little or no text. Board books are quite suitable for this age. Check out our expert-curated for the early developmental stage here.
7 to 12 months:
Babies start recognizing pictures and a few simple words at this stage. Books with one colourful picture per page and words from life around are suggested. Babies can point to the picture and learn to say the word. Simple pictures like – shoes, milk, etc are quite apt.
You also need to select a book that can take all the rough handling. Babies love to touch and feel at this stage. There are many books with different textures, which are designed to stimulate the sensory experience.
Also Read: How to Make Bedtime Story for a Child
12 months to 24 months:
Babies at this age, star-forming simple sentence. So, a book with small sentences teaches toddlers to form sentences and increase their vocabulary. They also settle down at this age and begin to form a new bedtime routine.
Reading at bedtime can be made a habit at this stage. They will ask for the same book again and again. And would want you to tell the story in the same way. You cannot change a simple sentence. They would remind you to tell the story the way you always tell – without missing a single act! That is when you know that you are on the correct path.
Your child is beginning to form memories and being capable of remembering full sentences, sequences, and longer stories. Bedtime stories at this stage can range in different topics based on what your child enjoys.
Remember, being a parent, you are best equipped to decide what is best for your child. So, go ahead, read a book you both enjoy. Fix a time that that works for you both. Create the everlasting memory!