Caring for Mom

Benefits of Reading to Baby

Benefits of Reading to Baby

Reading to your baby is one of the best things you can do to give your child a head start on strong communication skills. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, reading to babies is important for cognitive, language and social-emotional development. The key is to make time for reading every day, even just a few minutes a day.

Here are five ways to get the most out of reading time with baby:

  1. Create a comfortable routine. Find a cozy chair where you and baby can read books. Babies love the closeness, attention and sound of a parent’s voice, even if they don't understand the words. For you, it’s a chance to let go of other stresses of the day and snuggle with baby. Benefit: Reading is a fun way to enjoy special time with baby.
  2. Select books with rhyming and silly sounds (moooo!) and bright, colorful pictures. Benefit: Reading is an opportunity to exercise the brain and funny bone (for baby and you).
  3. Interact during reading time. Baby enjoys listening to your voice and watching your expressions as you read. Point to objects on the page and name them. Show baby how you feel (surprised, curious, excited) about what’s happening in the story. Benefit: Baby picks up clues from you on how to use expression in language — and you get to show off your theatrical side.
  4. Keep it low-key. Baby may bounce from one activity to the next and lose interest in a book before you turn the first page. If baby wants to play instead of looking at a book, continue reading aloud as she plays. Don’t worry if your baby seems uninterested in books. Hearing your voice is the most important part of reading. Benefit: Building baby’s language skills through reading aloud.
  5. Read and repeat. Parents might get bored reading the same stories, but babies enjoy the repetition of pictures and words they recognize. Follow your baby’s lead if he shows interest in a particular book. Introduce new books to keep things interesting (for you and baby)! Benefit: The simple act of opening a book and turning pages together is a time for bonding with your baby.