Reading books aloud is a wonderful way to spend time with your baby, even before the little one is born! Hearing adult voices teaches children valuable language skills that are carried through their development. Intonation, emotions, and expressions can all be taught through story and picked up by babies from their earliest months. Start building your baby’s library at your baby shower – you could even include a few books in another language! Remember, babies will be grabby and aiming to put these books into their mouths, so make sure to pick books that are sturdy enough to last through the abuse. Even if the baby seems distracted, this time sharing a book will really will make a difference! At this stage, it’s not about the story, it’s about spending time with a book, familiarizing the baby with the activity, and making it part of his or her routine. Point out images, say simple words and colors, count up details ~ it may not seem like the child cares about what you are saying – but believe me, they are listening! Also, look for bright, vibrant illustrations. Imagery can chapter children from a very young age and children appreciate art more than we give them credit for.
Once you instill a love of reading in your baby, you can look forward to their continued excitement and enthusiasm for reading into their toddler years. As your baby gets older, try focusing on themes that can open into question and answer time, performance, art sessions, dance routines and a more. Books should to act as springboards for children’s hearts and minds, helping them to express themselves with confidence and integrity, and to explore the world in new ways. These are essential attributes in today’s fragile and fast-changing world. We need creative people in business, in the arts, in medicine and science, and in government. So look for books, CDs and other gifts that offer high educational value and are lots of fun. Also, it helps to find books that creatively honor different traditions, to start inspiring an interest in cultural diversity at a young age.
Creativity doesn’t just happen: the seeds may be in all of us, but the way we raise our children, and the emphasis we place on their imaginative development, is what helps those seeds to grow.
Article provided by Jeanne Nicholson at Barefoot Books. Visit us online at Barefoot Books