Probably the most beautiful thing that could ever happen to a woman is to undergo pregnancy. The excitement and happiness it gives to you knowing that you are carrying a life inside you is incomparable. For some, pregnancy is already the blooming of a bond between mother and baby, but for others, pregnancy brings with it the worry about all kinds of things causing stress and anxiety. Reading to your unborn baby is a wonderful way to both bond and de-stress, plus, it’s really good for your baby’s development and brain.

Research suggests that babies inside the womb start to absorb language during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. Talking and reading while pregnant, therefore, can give your baby a foundation for language development. And here’s an interesting fact; newborns can already tell the difference between their mother’s native tongue and foreign languages just hours after they are born. Isn’t that amazing?

Reading To Your Baby From The Start

Even more important than reading to your baby before birth, is reading after birth. Most people wait way too long to begin this wonderful ritual, and, just as bad, they stop it way too early. Studies show that the earlier the baby is exposed to reading, the more they will enjoy it and the better they will perform in school. And continuing a reading-together ritual can last into their teen years. The good news is that as they mature, the books become more interesting to you as well.

So, early is the time to start to make reading a wonderful bonding time together. Not only will it be a special time for you and your child, but it will de-stress both of you too. And you will always know that no matter how crazy the day gets, at least you will have this one-on-one time together. If you are wondering on how to make it happen here are some tips on how to get started.

Tips On Getting Started:

1. Infants have short attention spans, so it is better to read to your baby in a short time periods, like 10-15 minutes once or twice a day.

2. For the first few months of your baby's life, you really don’t know what he/she likes, so just read the books that you enjoy; maybe your favorite books from when you were a child. When he/she gets a little bit older, three to five months old, you can introduce a book that is tactile with items to touch, or flaps that open, to further engage him/her. And books with familiar items are always favorites at this age as well.

3. Repeat reading the same books over and over. Your baby will become familiar with the book you are reading, and know on what part of the story he should laugh or react, and will anticipate what is coming next.

4. At age six to nine months your baby can start to copy you and turn multiple pages of the book as you read.

If you are still unconvinced of the value reading to your little one can bring to both of you, here are some benefits of reading aloud to your baby.

Benefits of Reading Aloud To Your Baby:

1. Understanding the basics of how to read a book: I know this sounds silly, but he/she is not born learning to read from right to left, and to turn the pages in order. Nor that the words are separate from the images. And, if you can instill in your baby the love of reading, this will carry through for the rest of his life.. Although he can learn from other things in other ways, reading will stimulate imagination and creativity.

2. Better Communication Skills: Reading can develop your baby’s attention span and listening skills. Try to encourage him to tell you a story that you have read together, and you’ll be surprised that he is familiar with it! And by observing the interactions between the characters in the story, and having interaction with you, you are helping your child development key listening and communicating skills. Plus, you are actually helping him to increase his vocabulary and to get familiar with uncommon words.

3. Academic Excellence: The words in the book can help your baby learn a concept in combination with the illustrations. Images are very stimulating to your little one, so you should always give them the right concept about what he/she is seeing. And think about it. Later in life, as a student, if your child struggles in putting together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp science, math, and other concepts he will be exposed to in elementary school?

4. More Logical Thinking Skills: Reading helps your child learn to apply logic and recognize cause and effect. Reading promotes the ability to grasp abstract concepts, and use logic in applying good judgement. Your child will learn to anticipate; if A happens, then the result will be B.

5. Openness to New Experiences: By reading about experiences in books, your child will become less anxious about the same circumstances happening in his/her own life. Eventually, your child will make the transition to being able to understand and learn from experiences in books even though he/she has not experienced them at all in reality.

6. Enhanced Concentration and Attention Span: Reading encourages your child to pay attention for a longer period of time as he/she learns to sit still through an entire story. Reading also therefore teaches self-discipline and memory skills, which definitely are assets as he/she approaches school age.

7. A Stronger Relationship With You: Reading shuts the rest of the world out. It’s just you and your child and the book. Reading is a bonding time that promotes calmness for you and your baby.

As a parent you always want the best for your child. Your baby won’t stay a baby forever. Enjoy your quiet time together and being close as long as you can.

Read more about child literacy skills here and here. Author: