There are so many checklists for new parents, but many skip one of the most important routines you can establish right from the start: reading to your child every day.
This is much simpler than feeding, sleeping (or not sleeping) or even decorating the nursery. All you need for this are a few books, a cozy place to read, and your baby. Reading together every day is not just a way to get a leg up on all the other babies on the block. While this will be a foundation for future reading success, at this age it’s more about bonding, hearing parents’ voices, and calming down in a soothing and secure environment.
Here are six tips to help you get off to the right start reading to your baby:
- Add books to your baby registry.
- Pack a book or two in your hospital bag, and read to your baby while you are still in the hospital.
- Choose calm books like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. These books have great rhythm and will grow with your child.
- Board books please! Your newborn won’t reach out and rip the pages of a regular book, but newborns turn into toddlers who will. Save the money and buy the board book to start with.
- Mix it up with various books, but keep one or two titles that you read often. Repetition and familiarity is comforting -- not boring -- to babies.
- Try reading before naptime as well as bedtime. This helps establish that you read before sleep, and on the very busy days you will still read at least twice to your baby. Of course, reading at other times is encouraged as well.