Getting Started – From a Parent Perspective
By this stage we have established that reading to our children seems like a pretty great idea. I am certainly not going to argue with that. You have probably already researched the topic, spoken to friends and you are really keen to start incorporation this into you new routine as a parent if you haven’t already.
How to read to young children is definitely the next step, and for some parents this comes really easily to them, to other parents they need a little guidance or ideas to help them along the way. I don’t believe it matters where on the spectrum you fit within this situation because the fact that you incorporate this into you new routine is really all that matters, and like everything we do as parents, we try to do the best we can with the skills we have at the time.
I hope you enjoy the following article and that it can help in some way or another when it comes to “How to read to Young Children – From Babies to Toddlers”
How to Read to our Beautiful Babies – Up to 6 months
Through my experience and speaking to many parents along the way it would seem that repetition and simplicity was and is a key focus for most of us.
For example, during the very early infant months (up to 6 months) basic word repetition and having the book within eyesight of our babies was and is a very common tool whilst nurturing and cuddling. Some parents even explained that they would read whilst feeding their baby, as they felt that this is when both parent and baby were most relaxed and it was a very important bonding time.
I personal did this many times during the early months, as I felt that I was less distracted by other influences including my phone, work, housework and other upcoming events in my life. I felt it was a time when I could watch my baby and introduce the building blocks of language into their minds as they were feeding.
On other occasions I would lay on the floor with my boys as they were kicking around on their playmat and hold a book up in air and read and point to the image of the word being used. For example “Dog” and then point to the dog in the picture. I also remember only having a few books at these times with around 100 words and associated images.
This is merely an idea from experience and if you have read any of my other articles you would know that I would I prefer to keep it simple and not over complicate things.
6 months to 20months – What happened to the Book Stage?
When it comes to my boys I found that reading to them seemed to take on a big shift at around the 6-month age, for me, reading to them as an infant to them choosing to taste test the book and experience the text in a very different manner. I have to admit I haven’t really thought of that concept when I had my first child but I was certainly prepared with the second child. This is where I made the wise decision not borrow books at this age and instead buy books on sale or extremely great condition books from secondhand stores.
I very quickly learned to just go with this exploration stage as research would suggest it is extremely important for babies to touch, feel and taste their surroundings (or just use the book as a teething aid). So hard covered or sturdy books that are very textile orientated are really fantastic during this time so that you baby can begin to grab and hold on to, chew (and dribble, yep plenty of dribbles) and develop their gross motor skills.
Repetition of the words and increasing the amount of words was also seen to be beneficial as they were getting older and taking in more of their surroundings.
I thought it interesting that from the 6-month age till about 20 months, a lot of parents that I have spoken to over the years mostly indicated that at this stage they didn’t have a particular routine or time slot when it came to reading books, but instead most said that reading to their infant child was more about chance and opportunity at the time. So, if you have been worried about a routine when it comes to reading to you baby, it would seem that through the research that I have experienced and my own experience it wasn’t the importance of the time of the day, but more about the incorporation of reading and image recognition throughout the day.
Reading to our Toddlers – Or is it the Kid Wrangling Stage?
OK, the toddlers years and reading, oh gosh.
Well to be fair I found this time to be probably the most frustrating and also the most fun depending on the day. I think it is really important not to put too much pressure on yourself during the time and instead just go with it.
What is she talking about you ask?…. well toddlers can be crazy during this time and toddlers will do what toddlers do.
I can’t really speak on behalf of having girls, but boys are, how should I put it…relentless is one word that springs to mind. I was once told by and elderly lady when I had my first boy, she said, “Boys don’t talk.. they yell, they don’t walk…they run and they occupy a lot of space”. I have used this expression to many parents over the years and we have all sighed in relief and agreeable that someone else gets it, followed by a good giggle. I also completely understand that many boys are not like this and count you lucky stars if you boy was not like this, but in all honesty I don’t think it matters, as long as we try to make the best of a situation and I wouldn’t change my boys one bit. Well hang on, in saying that I have hit the teenage years so I wouldn’t mind changing the stinky body odor, completely vagueness of how to do basic tasks and forgetfulness but all good it is just another stage and we will get through.
In all seriousness, from experience and chats with mums I would say these follow tips my help:-
- It is OK to skip pages and potentially have you child take over as the narrator;
- Make the most of the experience at the time and have no expectations of how you think it may go;
- If you get the chance, being able to cuddle you child on you lap as you read is a really great bonding experience, but if they are high energy you can use this opportunity to be more creative and act out the characters;
- Being interactive throughout the book is not only fun but gives you an opportunity the see what words you child is beginning to understand and introducing new words and images;
- Again repetition, simplicity, interaction and bonding seem to be the most common experiences and aims during this time.
So, where to from here….
Well from here will soon come the reading during preschool years, primary and early development and then how to read to not only our young children but all the way to the teenage years. No stress we will have you covered for those years also and hopefully some great tips and tricks along the way to help you to inspire and en light you children to be the best version of themselves.
I really hope you enjoyed the above article and as always I would love you feedback with regard to anything about this article and also any tips and tricks you have found in you experience that you can share with other parents. I suppose you could say it would another way of paying it forward to help someone else with the intention of enriching their life in someway.
Just remember there is no right or wrong and if you don’t get a chance to read to you child every day, that is OK, because I have no doubt that you are teaching them the ways of the world through everything you do on a day to day basis…not just though reading. I also have no doubt that you are doing a better job of this than you probably think you are so never be to hard on yourself.
Until next time…
Happy Reading to you beautiful Children and to Loving Life,