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Tips to Encourage Reading With Your Child

One thing a parent hears all the time is, Read to your kids..

By
Cherylyn Feierabend
4-minute read
Episode #24

Hey there!  You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting. Today’s Topic:  It’s Always Time to Read

Tips to Encourage Reading With Your Child

One thing a parent hears all the time is, “Read to your kids.” I can’t agree more! Reading to your children is one of the best things you can do for them from day one. Some parents even begin reading to their babies before they are born. Reading is good for everyone so why not read to your pregnant belly? It certainly isn’t going to hurt anyone and it will give you some practice before your little one arrives.

In the early days, it won’t matter much what you are reading, as long as you are reading. Babies love to hear the sound of their parents’ voices. You can put inflection in your voice even if you are reading a newspaper. Enjoy this reading time for yourself, as there is a good chance that you won’t have as much say in the reading material once your baby starts begging for her favorite fairy tales.

Eventually your baby will start paying attention to the books by pointing at the pictures or bringing the books to you. My favorite books to start out with for babies are the big, colorful, board books. They are often filled with simple pictures and stories. Toddlers love to point at the pictures and learn about them. At this stage of reading, you don’t need to read word for word. You can name the pictures as the child points at them or make up a simple story of your own. You child will be delighted to learn all these fun new words and begin to understand the concept of reading. Soon, your child will be able to point to items as you are naming them. It’s very exciting when you ask, “Where is the dog?” and your child points to the cute little puppy in the book. It won’t be long before your toddler will be pointing and naming the items all on his own.

Whether you’ve been reading to your child since before birth or are just now starting, it’s important to continue to read on a regular basis. Create a daily routine of reading to your child. You can read before naptime, bedtime or any other time of day. If you feel as though your child is too fidgety or isn’t listening, don’t become frustrated. It’s often difficult for a toddler to sit still for any length of time. I’ve heard some parents recommend reading to your child during mealtime when the child is in a high chair, but keep in mind that if you read often to your child during mealtime, he might begin to insist on mealtime entertainment. Some children like to snuggle while they are waking up. This may also be a good time to try reading to an otherwise restless toddler.

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