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Sharing books with your baby

It’s never too early to start reading with your child. Reading aloud helps with language skills and vocal skills. Snuggling with your baby and some books might well become one of your favorite memories. As your children develops motor skills, giving them books to look at and “read” teaches important skills and establishes wonderful habits of listening and reading. We have some simple tips for making books a part of your baby’s life.

Woman reading to children

Keep books easily accessible

Keep a basket of books in the living room. Add a small bookshelf or cubby of books in your child’s bedroom. Keep a bag of books in the car. Encourage your child to explore books on his or her own - board books are excellent for early “reading.” You can also find books with different textures, flaps and features that foster a baby’s interest and encourage exploration. While you should always spend some time every day reading aloud to your child, you’ll also want to start teaching them to be independent readers.

Look for ways to engage your child

While reading with your baby, do more than just read the words on the page. Reading can be a great time to expand cognitive and motor skills. While reading try some of the following tips recommended from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Father reading to child
  • Name and point to the pictures your baby shows interest in.
  • Help your baby turn pages.
  • Act out pictures using your face, hands and voice.
  • Ask your child questions she can answer by pointing, like: “Where’s the doggie?” or “Where’s the happy baby?” or “Who says meow?”
  • Imitate the sounds your child makes while looking at a picture. Then add a very short phrase, such as "Moo, the cow says moo.”

Make reading part of your bedtime routine

Set aside a few quiet minutes with the TV off for sharing books as part of your regular bedtime routine. Regular bedtime routines started with babies help prevent future bedtime struggles. Teaching your baby how to fall asleep alone by putting him in bed awake helps prevent future night wakings.
More from the AAP: Help your child enjoy reading aloud

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Baby girl with pony tail in white