The greatest gift you can give your newborn baby is a simple story. Investing in storytelling and reading picture storybooks as soon as that baby is out of the womb is one of the most important things you will do as a parent. There are so many positives to story time, from developing an imagination to improving speech and language development.
Some of the benefits found in children who have stories read to them from a young age include:
- Increased development of language skills
- Better speech skills
- Improved social skills
- Better emotional relationship between mother and baby
- A love of reading
- Imaginative skill development Emotional intelligence and empathy in children
While these things may seem far off when your baby is just a newborn, it is never too early to start reading stories. Your baby may not be able to process the words and understand the connection between words and pictures, but your baby’s brain does receive stimulation from words, tones, inflections, and sensory images in picture storybooks.
Moreover, reading to your newborn from day one will create a good habit in you as a parent. Continuing this habit as your baby grows will then be much easier and will continue to provide endless benefits.
There are no limits on how long story time should go for or when it should happen, just as long as you read at least one story to your child each day. Just think, those ten minutes you invest a day in story time will help develop your child’s verbal skills, their attention span ability, and their enjoyment of the written word. To help you develop a good system for story time, consider some of the following techniques.
Create a Secure Environment
Find somewhere that is warm and comfortable for your baby such as a cozy couch or rocking care. Studies have shown that holding your baby close during story time helps to foster a better emotional attachment and bond.
Use Age-appropriate Books
For a newborn, the actual content of the story isn’t highly important. However, books that have bright and colorful images and words that have engaging inflection and intonation are ideal. Books that have sensory pictures or pop-ups for newborns to touch and feel are the best as this engages their kinesthetic attention as well.
Make it something exciting
The more excited you are about reading to your baby, the more fun and enjoyable it will be for your newborn. When you create a positive stigma around reading stories from birth, your child will grow up knowing that books and stories are a source of comfort happiness. Don’t be afraid to use exclamation in your voice and make some funny noises to get a reaction from your baby.
Have a quiet space
Turn off other noises such as the TV or music and just focus on story time. This will grab your baby’s attention and focus it all on the storytelling and improve attention span development. Read books with a rhyme and rhythm: these are the best types of books for babies. Picture storybooks that have rhyme, repetition, and rhythm will really engage the awareness of your newborn. This makes the whole reading process really fun and your newborn will grow up loving these types of storybooks. Reading stories might be something new to you as a parent, and this is completely ok. You will be learning to read and tell a story just as much as your baby is learning to process picture storybooks.
If you are a first-time storyteller, keep these tips and tricks in your mind to maximize the potential of story time.
- Use expression in your tone
- Make funny noises and sounds
- Say a word and point to a matching picture to develop a connection between words and images
- Read slowly and let your baby look at the pictures
- Let your baby reach out and touch the book and try to turn the pages so they understand how a book works
- Repeat words that are important
- Source picture storybooks that are plastic and waterproof because your newborn might like to put them near their mouth.