Once Upon a Baby
Child development experts have been telling parents, for what seems like forever, about the benefits of reading to your child. Now no one can doubt that fact, but there is one element of reading to your child that is commonly overlooked by people – reading to your baby.
It is understandable that parents would think that if a child were too young to understand what is being read, that it would just be an empty gesture. However, as it turns out, even babies love a good yarn.
According to Invest in Kids, a national charity geared towards helping parents in the healthy development of children under five years old,reading is an excellent bonding opportunity between child and parent. Babies enjoy being held close and hearing their parent’s voice.The sound of different words slowly teaches infants their meaning and facilitates in the babies’ language development.
Reading to babies just before their bedtime makes them feel secure, comforted, loved, and precious to the parent reading. To help engage the little ones, try changing the tone of your voice as the story progresses, or using really animated facial expressions.
Invest in Kids recommends to allow babies to play with and touch books, so that they learn about different textures.
Another way to help stimulate your baby’s love of reading is to register for The Imagination Library, a program created by The Dollywood Foundation of Tennessee in 1996 and endorsed by Invest in Kids. The Imagination Library freely mails books on a monthly basis to children’s homes from the time they are born until they are five. Each book has been carefully selected by a team of experts on child development, literacy and education, ensuring that the book’s content supports the growth of the child at every stage from infant to toddler.
Parents interested in bringing the program to their community can reach The Imagination Library at 1-877-583-KIDS (5437) ext. 293.