Before your baby is even born, reading to them can have a positive impact on their brains. Your baby might not understand the words or know what the pictures mean, but if you read to them often, they’ll learn all the sounds needed to speak their language before they even reach their first birthday!
Not to mention, reading as an activity brings them closer to what they love most: you.
From the experts
“Reading to your child daily from infancy will help them develop key literacy, language and social skills they need to be successful once they start school."- American Academy of Pediatrics
I loved reading to my kids as they grew up. When they were just babies, it was a great addition to your bedtime routine. Even as they got older, there was no better way to wind down before bed. As a result, I’ve raised two very hungry caterpillars who love to read.
Here were some of my favorites to read with them:
1. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
by Dr. Seuss
This heart-wrenching book is my favorite Dr. Seuss story because it taught me about unconditional kindness as a toddler. It is also reminds me of my Mom.
Thidwick is a moose that hosts forest animals in his antlers and teaches us that, “A host above all must be kind to his guests.”
I won't spoil it for you, but I will say that it is a testament to Seuss’s mastery of incorporating complex concepts and difficult ideas.
2. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Admit it! You might be rolling your eyes…but you’re also smiling! "Are You My Mother?" is ideal for introducing reading to young children because the story is simple and the words are repetitive. Moms love it because it can lead to games of “Who's YOUR mother?” and lots of giggling and kisses.
When we read to our babies in bed they feel comfortable and safe. This allows the two of you to bond and grow together.
3. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
I dare anyone to read "I Love You Forever" start to finish without getting teary-eyed. Showing the relationship between child and mother and how it changes over time, this classic provides a lens on the importance of this first relationship in a child’s life.
Books like this, which focus on emotions, help babies and young children learn to express their emotions using words.
Daily reading does not only aid in your baby’s emotional development it can also reduce stress in your life. Having a daily “calm-time” can help you appreciate the present and remember the big picture that we forget when we are caught up in daily life.
4. Run Away Bunny
by Margaret Wise Brown
No mother wants to think about the day that her kid leaves home for good. We know that the end goal is independence—but we don’t want to stop being needed.
The Runaway Bunny reminds us that the unconditional love, dedication and consistency of parenthood is as essential to wellbeing as food and shelter.
5. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
A Mama bird adopts orphaned Stellaluna and together they teach us acceptance and adaptation in adversity.
6. Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss
Van Vleck, a very small bug, is getting sleepy, and his yawn - contagious as yawns are - sets off a chain reaction, making all those around him feel sleepy too! This charming ode to bedtime will lull listeners (and readers) toward dreamland. Zzzz.
Books open our imagination, they challenge us to see from a different perspective and teach us the importance of being together.
Happy reading everyone!
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