A lot changes when you become a parent and you have to be willing to hold true to those changes in order to help your baby grow strong physically, emotionally, and intellectually. You need to make the commitment early on in the pregnancy to stick to the routines that come along with the changes, thus incorporating those changes into the routines.
I read during my pregnancy that baby can hear sounds while in the womb. He can hear your voice and will even recognize it once he’s born. I wanted Davey to know my husband’s voice just as much as mine so I encouraged my husband to read a Dr. Seuss book to my belly every night before bed. Not only did it help to increase Davey’s cognitive skills even before he was born, by exercising his brain, but it also helped to create the bonding experience for my husband.
Now that Davey is with us physically in this world, I made the commitment early on to continue to read to him. Our daily routine finds us incorporating at least a half hour of reading into his day. It’s so important for him and it’s fun for both of us.
We commit to reading a different story out of the same book everyday, The Children’s Bible, which tells the stories of the Bible, one a day, 365 stories. I’m a Christian, as is my husband, and I want to encourage this lifestyle with my son.
Next I like to read Dr. Seuss books to Davey. At his age, the board books are the best for him. He can touch them as we’re reading and has even gotten to the point of turning the pages too. By continuing the repetitive nature of these 4 specific books that we read everyday, it helps to develop his vocabulary. Change is a constant with a baby, but commitment, repetition, and routine are important to his development as well. Starting out early with the need to read to your child is so much more valuable than I can ever explain, more valuable that the top pediatricians and psychologists can explain.
If I can offer one piece of unsolicited advice to all of your future mommies and current mommies, it’s to take the time, find the time, commit to the time to read to your child. It is by far one of the greatest experiences of your lives. A few things to stick to:
- try to cuddle with your baby while reading. Cuddling provides a sense of warmth and comfort. Much like how an adult loves to cuddle up with a good book, so does baby.
- read with expression. Try to change your voice with each character’s dialogue. Creating funny voices stimulates your child’s communication and vocabulary skills. Try to pitch your voice higher or lower, get louder and then quieter.
- you don’t have to follow the text word for word, at least not until you’re teaching your child to read. Part of the reason to read to your child is to encourage his growth intellectually and to encourage him to communicate on his own. Stop occasionally and ask questions. Interaction is key.
- if you’re reading nursery rhymes, try to sing them as well. Thow in a few animal sounds.
- repetition is key. Babies love and learn from repetition, so choosing the same book or story for each day is important.
- as your baby gets older, encourage him to interact more by turning the pages, touching the book.
I’m one of the biggeest advocates for reading to your child. Even if you’re not an avid reader, please, for the love and growth of your child, find the time to commit to being one at least for a half hour to an hour a day. The time you spend with your child doing this is more valuable than anything else you could possible do in your day. Sacrifice some part of your personally routine for your child. You won’t regret it.