So, new parents want to know “When should I start reading to my baby?”
That is a great question; one I think so many parents struggle with.
Is there any point in starting before they can even comprehend what I’m saying? Should I wait until they are closer to preschool? Yeah, a little overwhelming, huh? But it doesn’t have to be!
What kinds of books should I start reading to my baby?
Start with bright picture books when they are too young to hold a book. Newborns need vibrant pictures to practice focusing on. Check out our post on the Story Books Children Love – Timeless Favorites! for a helpful list.
Don’t overthink it, just start reading to them.
Parents.com has a great article on Age-by-Age Guide to Reading to Your Baby.
Think about all the times we have seen adorable dads reading the sports illustrated to their sweet baby in a movie or show. That baby is as happy as a clam! When your babies are itty bitty they just want to hear your captivating voice. You can read Forbes magazine for all they care, they are fascinated with all you say and show them.
YOU ARE THE WORLD TO YOUR BABY!
When we had our first kid (our son the Evan) we were absolutely and totally in love. We also were absolutely and totally lost. We brought him home, stared at him a ton and then thought, what the heck do we do now?
Well, we sat down and we read to him.
We thought we can read, we like to read, so let’s read to him! So we did just that! We started reading to Evan when he was three days old, and thirteen years later he is still devouring books.
Once we figured out how to prop up a newborn (it’s a bit like propping up jello) we got started.
We did our best to hold him so he could see the pages in the book. We picked a bright book with lots of vivid pictures. At this young of an age, the content doesn’t really matter. He didn’t understand what we were babbling about, but he could enjoy the bright colors and most importantly, he loved to listen to our voices.
You might be wondering, “does it matter if my newborn can’t even focus much yet”? Well, who is to say at what exact moment a baby can focus clearly on a specific image? They are learning to focus on everything around them the minute they are born!
You may just be holding the next Einstein, and in your heart, you are!
We had a whole boatload of children’s books already; my mom was an elementary school librarian so we practically grew up in her library. She loved to practice her “read out loud” skills on us, especially when she got new books for her library.
You also can pay a visit to your local library (yes they still exist).
People that work at a library LOVE TO READ AND WANT YOU TO LOVE IT TOO!
They love books, the feel of them, the smell of them, the stacks and stacks of them! They are what I like to call “old souls” (takes one to know one) and they want nothing more than to help you! Even if you have no idea where to begin or what you even are looking for, just ask them for help!
They are pretty smart. If you are there with your baby, they will probably put two and two together and guide you to the plumbing section. KIDDING, they will take you to the children’s section of course, and show you around! Librarians are a wealth of knowledge and can show you right where a specific book is.
Libraries also have computer stations all over with search modes on them; just plug in the author, title, or subject and it will direct you to exactly where the book is. If the book is checked out, you can reserve it and you will get an email when it is ready for pickup! They set reserved books aside and give you several days to pick it up before they reshelve it.
An outing to the library is a great way to break up the day; get yourself out of the house.
Field trip!! It’s quiet, relaxing, and a different setting for your baby to observe. Most libraries even have a small play area with mats and blocks for your little one.
- When your baby is too young to be holding books, borrowing them is fine.
- When they are old enough to respect them, borrowing them is fine.
- When they are in their destructive stage, borrowing them is NOT FINE.
Now picture your four-month-old: they are adorable, just learning to grasp things and putting them straight into their mouths. They have juicy, grubby little hands. They want to eat everything…including library books. So that being said, library books are great until your kiddos are old enough to get their hands on them.
This is the perfect time to invest in some great books. By now you will probably have an idea of what books you’d like to have in your library. You have had a few months to research, so now you are ready to buy some books.
Start with purchasing your own board books.
These are books with a few words on them, fun pictures and thick, cardboard pages that are impossible to tear. We picked out some of our favorite board books, check them out in our post–Best Board Books For Toddlers – Babies Too!
Keep in mind board books are quite tasty!
I wouldn’t know, but Evan would! My little guy is 13 years old now but when he was a chunky baby, he teethed on board books. Both my kids had four teeth by the age of four months! Lucky me! I know what you are thinking…and yes, I bottle fed those adorable piranhas.
Anyways.. board books are perfect for that age when they are grasping objects.
They can turn the pages with their clumsy fingers, and you don’t have to worry about the pages ripping. Board books are also small and can easily fit in a purse or diaper bag. Many popular children’s books will have a version in a board book size. Board books are very portable, durable and affordable.
Do you want your kiddos to nap longer? Oh no! I want to spend every waking minute with my precious cherub!!
That’s a bunch of horse poo and we all know it! What sane parent doesn’t want a few more minutes to put another layer of deodorant!! Naptime, downtime, whatever you call it, both you and your baby need it!
So, we all know it’s a big no-no to put stuffed toys and blankets in your baby’s crib right?
How about some board books? Oh yeah! Line their crib with books!
Many of us like to wind down with a good book. It’s relaxing, calming and the perfect way to have some quiet time before sleeping. Even if your baby cannot sit up on their own, they can still roll to their side, grab a book and entertain themselves.
When they wake up, they will want to “read” their favorite familiar book again!
You just bought yourself a few more minutes before super parent kicks in! It’s a win win for everyone!
Your baby will learn how to entertain themselves and learn about down time.
Reading will become an everyday part of their little world. Some of our favorite baby memories are of when our kids would babble to themselves with a book in their crib. They were reading out loud because that is what they were learning with us!
We used to sneak into their rooms when they had just woken up and listened to them chat away. Sometimes they would do this for 10-15 minutes and longer as they got older. It was absolutely precious. When my now teenagers drive me batty, I remember moments like these.
As your family grows and you have more kids, encourage the older ones to read to the little ones.
You probably won’t even have to ask them to do this! Evan was so excited to have someone HE could read to, so when Natalie was born, that is what he did! It was the cutest thing ever to see him holding a book in front of her and “reading” the story to her.
Then when she was able to hold board books, he would quickly supply her with as many as she wanted! Another special memory we have is when Natalie would just barely be awake, and Evan would climb in her crib with a bunch of books. The two of them would hang out and read for a bit.
So as you can see, it is never too young to start reading to your children. Don’t worry if you think you missed the boat. The right time is NOW! There is a whole world of exciting books just waiting for you to explore!
I hope we inspired you and were helpful! Have a great day!
Read on my friends! Kris:)