You asked

Why is reading to my baby good for her?

Experts agree that it’s never too early to start reading to your baby. While she may not gain much in the way of language skills as a new born, it’s still a good way to bond. At around six months old, however, the other benefits of reading aloud to your child start to become apparent.

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!

More questions

By the time your baby is three to six months old, they’re ready for more interactive developmental games.
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Sandpits are fun, as long as your child is supervised, but they’re not without their risks, so exercise a little caution.
While it may seem that young infants can swim, this is actually an involuntary reaction.  Your child actually does not know how to swim.
Babies of nine months to one year old are on the brink of toddler hood. Play games with your toddler to be to encourage development.
Six to nine month olds are on the brink of learning to cruise or walk, and they’re likely to be very mobile, and gaining dexterity. There are plenty of games that encourage those skills.
Play is how your child learns about the world, and it’s one of the most important things he or she will do throughout early childhood.
Reading to your child is possibly the most important thing you can do for his or her linguistic development.
Since music affects your child’s mood, what you play, and when you play it, can have an impact.
There has, as yet, not been any concrete proof made for this question, but the positive effects of music have been proven in other areas.

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