Reading a book before bed is one of the most common ways to end the day with your child. But do you know the benefits of making reading a habit?
Reading aloud is crucial to your baby’s development. Even when your baby can only babble, there are many benefits to reading to your baby.
When do I start reading to my baby?
It’s never too early. Starting as a newborn is ideal. You may feel weird reading to your newborn, but it’s quite normal to them. They heard your voice all day long while in the womb.
Even as a new baby (0-3 months), they will begin recognizing sounds and even the rhythm of language. Simply find a comfortable place to read and turn off all other distractions.
Benefits of reading aloud to your child
1. Increases your child’s vocabulary
Researchers have found that early reading will boost your child’s vocabulary and reading skills. So, what you’re reading to them as an infant still has positive effects four years later when they are about to enter school.
Children need to hear a word many times before they will repeat it, which means the more words they repeatedly hear, the more words they will be able to speak.
2. Introduces Diversity and Empathy
The benefits of reading to your baby do not end at vocabulary building. It helps to introduce different situations, people, and lifestyles.
Your child will be able to learn about their world through learning and connecting with diverse characters.
3. Creates a Bond with your Child
As you spend quality one on one time with your child, whether it be snuggling up in bed or in your favorite reading chair, your child will feel loved receiving your attention and learning with you.
For busy parents, this time before bed is a treasured time where life slows down for those few minutes you’re together. Dr. Kenneth Barish, Ph. D., believes that the last ten minutes before bed are the most important ten minutes of your child’s day.
4. Improves your child’s concentration
It is not uncommon for your child to get bored and start flipping pages before you’ve finished the page. That is ok – it is more important to keep your child engaged than it is to finish every word on the page.
As you continue to read, they will learn to follow along more, increasing your child’s attention span.
Start out reading for shorter bursts of time and then lengthen the reading session as your child grows and becomes more engaged.
Soon enough, your challenge will be hearing “One more book, mommy?” and saying no to the adorable request.
5. Develops their imagination and creativity
Young children are able to follow along with the pictures and fill in the gaps of what they don’t understand, thereby using their imaginations at an early age.
As your baby grows into a toddler, ask questions to spur their imagination. Ask questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or “How do you think she is feeling right now?” These questions will give your child the opportunity to imagine the story.
6. Teaches your child how to form good habits
When you have a good bedtime routine that involves nightly reading, your child will form a habit and expect to read together. Believe us, we’ve tried to skimp on the nightly reading, and children are not happy about it!
As they grow, they will be able to recognize these habits and add new habits that lead to their growth.