Sharing books with your baby can be a really special time for both of you, but how do you introduce books to your baby?
Amanda Overend from Books & Pieces shares six simple tips that will help you start reading with your baby…
- Get some books
OK, so this is ridiculously obvious, but if you don’t have children’s books in your home you’ll need to get hold of some! For very young babies, black and white books and cloth books are the perfect first books, but for babies 4 months and up you’ll want to start introducing books with bright images, words and pictures, as well as some short story books. For slightly older babies, interactive elements such as lift the flap and touch and feel are a must.
If you’re having a baby shower, perhaps pop books on your gift list, or ask friends and family to pass on books their little ones have grown out of. And don’t forget babies of any age can join the library - libraries are an excellent way of trying out different books, and it won’t cost you a penny.
- Make books available
If you want your baby to get into books, you’ll need to make sure books are easy for them to get hold of. I always recommend having books accessible for little ones, whether that’s in their toy basket, attached to their buggy or play gym, in your change bag (handy for distracting them on the change mat and when you’re out and about), or even in the bath (bath books are a thing, you know!).
And think about having a few books in different rooms of the house, or in a bag or box with handles so you can move them around with you.
- Schedule in some reading time
With so much to do for your little person, it can be easy to overlook reading time, so it’s worthwhile thinking about how you could schedule some book sharing into your day.
You might want to use books as a way to entertain and play with your baby when they’re wide awake, or perhaps you’d prefer to read a soothing story to them when they’re sleepy after a feed? Maybe you want to introduce a bedtime routine and share books as part of that. Or you could do all three! All babies and their families are different, so find a way that works best for you.
And if you find the idea of reading to your baby a little bit weird, you should check out this post: How to feel less silly reading to your baby.
- Make reading fun
If you really want to inspire of love of books in your little person you’ll need to make reading fun. And one of the best ways to do this is to choose books YOU enjoy sharing. You’ll soon find out which books float your boat – and if it’s a book you enjoy that will come across in how you share it and it will soon be a firm favourite with your little one too.
Think about how you can use props, your voice and facial expressions to bring the story to life. Read top tips on sharing stories in this post on improving your storytelling.
- Get the family involved
Books are a brilliant way to bond with babies – so why not make it something that friends and family can do with your little one when they visit, and even make it a regular job for Dad. Not only will it give them special time together, but it gives you a small break too. Find out here why it’s so important for dads to read with their babies.
- It’s never too early…or too late
I’m often asked when parents should start reading with their babies, and my answer is always ‘when it’s right for you'. Forcing books into your routine isn’t going to foster a love of books in any of you!
Some parents read to their babies before they’re born (see this post for how) but most families tend to wait a little longer.
Hopefully my tips here will help you introduce books to the little people in your life, but remember - some children take to books easier than others, so patience and responding to your baby’s cues is key. It really is never too late to introduce books to your baby – the most important thing is that you introduce them!
You can find Books & Pieces at stand P51, where you can discover multiple show offers and a competition that could leave you winning a bundle of books worth over £25!