Reading books or storytelling is not only an engaging activity but it also is a fun way to teach your baby a lot of new things. And it all begins with little things – little tips and tricks.
It is important to know how to pick a book for your baby. When your baby is as young as zero to two years, you must select books with hard pages, so that even when your baby gets too curious and might try to rip off the pages, they do not tear. Books that are bright and colourful are more interesting for the baby. Be careful that the books have short sentences so that you baby doesn’t get lost and is able to easily concentrate and understand. Make sure that the books are descriptive in terms of colours, shapes, sizes, and even emotions of the characters in the stories. Finally, these books should have a little sense of realism when your baby is younger. We don't want to read books where a pig is flying or an elephant is talking because they start to believe that these things are real and it just confuses the baby as they become older. Once your baby is older, you can have stories like those because by then babies know it is not real and only meant for fun and engagement.
Keep the book reading sessions short and succinct. Babies have a short attention span. Even 5 to 10 minutes of book reading can be too long for them to focus. Reading for just 30 seconds or up to a minute is sufficient for your baby depending on their age and ability. So, keep the sessions short and succinct so as not to bore or tire your baby.
Keep you sessions fresh. Do not repeat the same books, the same stories, again and again. When you keep repeating, you overdo it and your baby will eventually get bored of the activity. Baby books are small and the stories are short and this often makes you repeat them. Imagine yourself watching your favourite movie or reading your favourite novel one time too many, you’d eventually get bored of it. It works in a similar fashion for your baby. It will not be fun for them anymore.
It is important to use clear pronunciation. We sometimes tend to use baby language or baby pronunciation while talking to our babies. It is very important to use clear pronunciation when you read to your baby, because otherwise it becomes very difficult for your baby to learn the wrong pronunciation and then unlearn it later as they grow older. Let your baby learn the correct pronunciation from the very beginning.
Maintain eye contact with your baby while reading a book to them. This allows your baby to observe your face and especially your lip movements. This is super important because it helps your baby develop vocabulary as well as understand the pronunciation and, over time, develop language skills on how to speak the words that you're speaking to them.
If you are using a board book, and your baby is older, you can allow them to turn the pages of the book. This has two benefits. The first benefit is that your baby feels involved in the reading activity. They feel curious and excited. The second benefit is that turning pages helps to develop their finger muscles and the fingers skills.
Use a lot of gestures and expressions while you are reading a book to your baby. Whenever you come across words that can be expressed, do it. Be animated and use lot of gestures. Describe to your baby how it looks to be excited, to be happy, to be sad, to be angry, and more.
These tips and tricks will not only make the reading activity fun and engaging for your baby, but will also contribute to their growth and development. So, go ahead and grab a book now!