I read to my babies. I read to them, all the time. It didn’t matter if they were two months old or ten years old. I read to them. I was chatting with a new mom the other day. Her baby was the cutest little girl of about four months old. I asked her if she was reading to her? She told me no, that there wasn’t a point at that age as they didn’t understand.
Now, I am not, or at least I try not to be, that person that believes they know everything about everything. I have learned a lot of thing, but I don’t believe that I know everything, or that I have learned everything. I learn new things every single day. However, in this instance, I decided to share what I had learned about reading to babies.
1. Babies may not understand the words in the beginning, but they understand the tone you are using. They hear you. They listen.
2. Babies can see. Whether unfocused or not, they can see the colors and the shapes. They can see the words, even if they don’t understand them. They learn from every single moment of the day.
3. Reading time is a time to cuddle and bond and enjoy a quiet moment together. It’s a chance to sit on mom or dad’s lap and soak in the warmth and the love.
4. This one I think is very important. It’s one that I realized early and put to good use as soon as I could. Reading is a moment to sit still. It’s a moment of learning how to sit and be quiet, and be silent for a period of time. It’s a time to listen. This is a moment in a parent’s life where you can teach a necessary social manner to a little one, in an easy pain free way that also has an element of enjoyment. Those children at the restaurants that are running around like wild animals, they may be entertaining for a moment, but in reality, they need to be taught how to sit and good. Those children in church that the harassed mother has to take out of the service, because they can’t sit quietly, haven’t learned the lesson yet. It can all start with a simple moment of reading time. I know it sounds silly, but teaching a child how to sit still and quiet while another is talking will be invaluable to the child. No it doesn’t start easy. Babies don’t understand. You aren’t going to be reading for hours on end and torturing the child to be still for that long. But starting at a board book that takes a moment or two and progressing through to long and longer periods, will slowly and surely teach more than just reading to a child.
So, there you have it. I read to my babies. As long as they would tolerate it, I would read to them. My youngest (teenager) would probably love for me to still do it, but with her dance schedule, there simply isn’t time with the books she likes to read. I do read most of the books that she reads in order for us to talk about them and discuss, but sadly, I don’t physically read to her anymore.