From birth, your baby will recognize the sound of your voice and turn towards it. Babies like the feeling of closeness when a parent, grandparent or other caretaker reads, sings and talks to them. This positive, happy experience helps build a lifelong love of reading. It also helps baby’s brain make the connections it needs for later reading and writing success. It is never too early to start!
Games are a great way to talk together. Count your baby’s toes or play pat-a-cake. Sing to your baby, even if you don’t think you can sing. Your baby loves your voice, and any song will do.
When baby is tired or upset, try singing a favourite song slowly and softly to comfort her. Here are some favourite songs and rhymes to sing with your baby.
Talk to your child throughout the day. The more words your baby hears, the better. This is how they learn to make sounds and develop language skills.
Touch and talk – touch baby’s nose and say ”Here’s your nose”. Repeat many times with various parts. Sing “Head and Shoulders”.
Point to, touch and name familiar objects and repeat words so that your child learns to connect the spoken word with its meaning.
Share rhymes and nursery rhymes. Babies enjoy the rhythm and cadence of traditional nursery poems. Young children learn best through play, so make songs and rhymes fun. Make up actions or add your child’s name to the rhyme. Ella be nimble, Ella, be quick, Ella jump over the candlestick.
Visit the Library to find books that are best for babies. It's a great free resource and staff will be happy to help you find what's right for you and your baby.
Try to share a book with your baby every day. As you make stories and rhymes a pleasurable part of daily activity, you are preparing your child for reading, writing and other literacy experiences.
Settle with your baby comfortably on your lap so you can both see the book.
Choose books with bright, colourful pictures.
Point to pictures as you read the book. As well as reading the story, talk about the pictures.
Vary the tone of your voice.
Introduce books with a repeating pattern. Babies and toddlers enjoy repetition.
Share favorite books again and again. You may get tired of reading the same books, but children love hearing the same stories, hearing familiar words and being able to predict what will happen next.
Allow your baby or toddler to explore and manipulate books. Provide sturdy books to touch, hold and even taste. As your child becomes mobile, put books on low shelves or in baskets where (s)he can see them and choose them her/himself.
Do all of the above with love and you are giving your baby the best possible start in life.
Cuddle, snuggle, and hug. It doesn't get any better than this!
Find out how we are working to get books, music and tips into the hands of all new and expectant parents in London, Ontario through our Baby's Book Bag initiative.