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 onecan doubt that fact, but there is one element ofreading to your child that is commonlyoverlooked by people – reading to your baby.
It is understandable that parents would thinkthat if a child were too young to understandwhat is being read, that it would just be an emptygesture. However, as it turns out, even babieslove a good yarn.
According to Invest in Kids, a national charitygeared towards helping parents in the healthydevelopment of children under five years old,reading is an excellent bonding opportunitybetween child and parent. Babies enjoy beingheld close and hearing their parent’s voice.The sound of different words slowly teachesinfants their meaning and facilitates in thebabies’ language development.
Reading to babies just before their bedtimemakes them feel secure, comforted, loved, andprecious to the parent reading. To help engagethe little ones, try changing the tone of yourvoice as the story progresses, or using reallyanimated facial expressions.
Invest in Kids recommends to allow babies toplay with and touch books, so that they learnabout different textures.
Another way to help stimulate your baby’s loveof reading is to register for The ImaginationLibrary, a program created by The DollywoodFoundation of Tennessee in 1996 and endorsedby Invest in Kids. The Imagination Libraryfreely mails books on a monthly basis tochildren’s homes from the time they are bornuntil they are five. Each book has been carefullyselected by a team of experts on childdevelopment, literacy and education, ensuringthat the book’s content supports the growth ofthe child at every stage from infant to toddler.Parents interested in bringing the program totheir community can reach The ImaginationLibrary at 1-877-583-KIDS (5437) ext. 293.