Reading to your baby or toddler helps her to develop language skills, vocabulary and imagination – all of which are valuable skills that she will use throughout her life. In fact, it’s been proven that parents who read (and speak) to their child a lot – more than two thousand words a day, are likely to have children who score higher than average on standard tests at age three. That’s a great head start!
Choosing books for infants and toddlers is something that many parents struggle with. However, for the first few months at least, it doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you read! By the time your baby is several months old, she will be more interested in the content of stories, and it’s then that board and cloth books with bright colours and fun stories are the best bet.
As your child grows, you can buy new books that are age appropriate. Books with flaps or other ‘action’ items are usually a big hit, but you could buy your child any stories you choose. Just remember that toddlers aren’t the most careful little people, so avoid anything too fragile.
While some parents would like to try books on tape or child friendly videos and DVD’s, experts say you should avoid them until around age three. That’s because reading offers children an emotional connection as well as intellectual stimulation.
Also remember that when you read to a very young child, the emphasis is not on the sentence structure, grammar and spelling. It’s a more emotional, and less cerebral, experience. So just have some fun!