Reading to Baby

Reading is The Key to Boosting Your Baby’s Brain Power

So, you’re going to have a baby! Congratulations! Now you’re thinking about all the ways to give your baby the best start: the right crib, breast vs. bottle, car seats, strollers, bouncy seats, swings, sleep routines – the list is practically endless! But did you know one of the most important aspects of your baby’s early development is often the most overlooked? 

The key to boosting your baby’s brain power is easy. Read! Simple and affordable, reading to your baby leads to a lifetime of benefits. And you can’t start too soon. When your baby is born, he or she already knows and loves your voice. So, it’s the perfect time to introduce simple books with cadence, rhythm and sounds which are the building blocks of language. 

Why is reading so important? By age 3, 85% of your baby’s brain is developed. So just like your baby’s growing body, you want to feed their growing brain with words and stories that will help put them on the road to success. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reports that the more children read or are read to at home, the higher their reading scores. What’s more, there’s a profound impact on emotional health, maturity, the ability to sit still, greater understanding of people and the world, and just a general love of learning. 

How do I get started? Board books and soft books are best for babies. Let your baby chew, hold and even try turning the pages. Look for bright, simple colorful illustrations and point to pictures as you say words, such as “that’s a big yellow dog.” Look for simple rhymes and books with songs or rhythm. Use silly voices and sound effects, and let your baby watch the way your face changes to show different emotions, like happy or sad. Above all snuggle, snuggle, snuggle! Reading provides the perfect opportunity for emotional bonding. 

Establish a routine. Reading to your baby at bedtime signals it’s time to rest and helps your little one settle down. But never limit reading time! Take a book with you wherever you go, and your child will learn to read a book instead of stare at a screen.

Speaking of screens…keep your baby away from screens as long as possible! That means phones, tablets, computers, and even the TV should be limited or eliminated altogether. Your baby has a lifetime of screens ahead. So, give your baby a healthy head start. Baby’s brains develop best when books are abundant!

AbbaCare is a pregnancy resource center serving women and families facing pregnancies that are unexpected or unexpectedly difficult. To learn more about our free, confidential services, visit abbacare.org.

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