Yes! That is exactly what you have just read!You as a parent along with your partner and close family members are responsible for the future of your baby. That's quite a mind boggling statement but if I break it down – right down to the basic element of learning, reading must come out on top!
Of course, you too are responsible for teaching your child right from wrong, good from bad, good manners like 'please' and 'thank-you' – but let me get back to reading.
If a person can read, the world is there waiting to be conquered! Just think about it. If you can read, you can learn anything!
So …......... learning to read starts at the very beginnng and from that I mean, being read to. If a child is read to every day, he will eventually become engrossed in the process, but from a very early age, he will become engrossed in the pictures and in your voice. He will soon become excited in just seeing the book – seeing the pictures, and the colours. As you read each day, several times a day and telling him all about the pictures, he will get excited about turning the page and as a toddler, choosing the book or books to be read.
When my children were very young – only days old, when friends would say – 'what are you reading to your baby for – he is too young to understand' – I would answer 'I know – but he can hear my voice'!
Right from that early age I would say 'Turn the page' – and every time they sat on my knee and I read the story or just talked about what was on the page, I would say 'Turn the page'. Of course, I would do that but eventually they would learn what it meant!
You know what I'm going to say? As they became really interested in the book, they would be trying so hard the 'turn the page!
Reading to my babies/toddlers quickly became part of their daily routine.
Routine is such an important part of all our lives and babies/toddlers respond exceptionally well to a routine. They respond very quickly and if the routine is just that – a pattern repeated daily, you will have a settled and happy family life.
So expand on the bedtime routine – the sooner this is established the more likely you are to have a baby that will eventually know that after a tea time feed – a bath -if that is the time of day you or your partner bath your baby – a cuddle with dad, a song or two – you can make those up as you go along – you will read him a story!
So - into the baby's bedroom, check the nappy, wrap firmly and then comes the book! Take your beautiful baby onto your lap – with a book – a little book!
Start to show him the colours, the pictures – talk to him about the picture saying 'look, there is a ball' – or look – there is a rainbow' – pointing at each picture. Smile a lot – facial communication is so much part of story telling – in fact it is such an important part of life in general. As the baby grows older, more and more facial communication is added! Smiles, eyes wide open etc.
At the beginning of this reading process the time spent with a book will be very short! As your baby grows the time spent reading that book and turning the page will become longer.
When the bedtime book is done, make sure your baby is well wrapped, tell him it's time for bed with a big kiss and cuddle – then put him to bed. This routine of reading each night soon develops into a routine that neither you nor the baby want to miss out on. Dad should become involved on a regular basis too! Different voice, different facial communications!
So – put away that mobile phone – introduce your baby to books - the mobile phone can wait until he is asleep. That device is NOT the most important part of your life.
Reading to your baby is!