The Importance of Reading to Your Baby at Bedtime
Snuggling with my boys is probably my most favourite thing in the world. They are nine and ten and although snuggle time has been on a decline for quite a while, I still manage to get some in each night before bed when we read together.
I started reading to my boys when they were really small infants. They didn’t really understand and mostly just wanted to put the book in their mouths but we both loved the snuggle right before bed and they liked to listen to my voice.
As they grew the books got more fun and they were really into the pictures. When people asked what to get our boys for gifts we always said books. We spent lots of time at the library and local book store and they would always be excited for a new book.
We were always very minimalistic when it came to our children’s toys and didn’t introduce electronics until much later. They loved Hot Wheels and books. I remember going to an indoor playground with some friends and while all the other kids were running around playing, DS1 was sitting looking at a book.
When my doctor saw my son looking at a book in her office she commented that his dexterity was very good for a child his age. It was then that I realized his love for books was helping him in more ways than I knew.
In every single sleep plan that I write for every family that I work with I state that they will read 2 stories to their child during the bedtime routine. A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 2. Bedtime can be a struggle but it really shouldn’t be. The last moments you spend with your child before they go to sleep should be positive and filled with love.
Here are a list of reasons that you should read to your baby from day 1
Reading strengthens bonds with your child.
Your child listened to your voice from inside for nine months and will still find comfort in just the sound of your voice. Your child has your full attention when you are reading to her and that is her favourite thing in the world
Reading is great for your bond with your child but also with other people that are special to your child. Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, and Dads for sure.
Reading will help to build your child’s vocabulary and language development
The Hanen Centre in Toronto says: “the number of words a child is exposed to by his parents relates directly to the size of the child’s vocabulary”
- a child’s vocabulary growth is directly linked to his or her overall school achievement
- the size of a child’s vocabulary in kindergarten predicts his ability to learn to read
- the more words a child knows, the more information the child has access to
- having a large vocabulary helps children think and learn about the world
You can also see A Recent Study About Vocabulary
Books stimulate your baby’s brain
Not in the over-stimulating way that television does but in a way that enhances their imagination and helps them to recognize familiar objects. Even when they are small you can start to point out things they recognize like cars or butterflies and talk about the colours or the sounds that something makes
Books help with motor skills and dexterity
Letting your child hold the book and even turn the pages can help develop these skills.
Loving books at a young age will ensure your child’s interest in them later
Children exposed to books when they are infants learn that reading is fun and continue to enjoy it as they grow. This will be helpful when your children are off to school and view reading as fun and not just a school chore.
Leading by example is a good way to do this as well. Reading for your own enjoyment around your children sends a really positive message. Replacing just 30 minutes of television for 30 minutes of reading per day can have a huge impact on the way your children view reading.