Your baby this week
Although it will be some time before your baby makes the connection between the red bus in her book and the red bus that passes you on the street, it is still worthwhile pointing out dogs, ducks and animals you see in the park that you know are in her books. Then when you get home, read your baby a story with those animals in and she will begin to learn the names. When you can’t read another page of ‘where’s monkey?’ any longer, read one of your magazines aloud to your baby. The pictures may not be animals or rainbows, but playing ‘spot the handbag mummy wants’ will be much more entertaining for you and your baby will love new pictures and funny stories.
He will love books this month and may be able to point to objects you name on each page. He may even be able to mimic sounds you make, like animal noises and repeated phrases in books (Uh-oh or Ahh-tishoo pop up in many children’s books). He will love pictures and books with flaps that have a picture hidden underneath and will keep him interacting with the book. Books needn’t be expensive; try visiting your local library with your baby and letting her choose her own books. It also allows you and your baby the opportunity to read different books when the old favourites get a little dog-eared at home. Further still, try giving your baby some magazines you have finished with to look through and tear up, but keep an eye on him in case he tries to eat the pages.
When to read?
The bedtime story is a time-honoured tradition, but don’t get tied to reading only at bedtime. Some children may not be at their most receptive when they are tired, so try reading at other times of day too, for example in the morning when they are full of beans. Story tapes and CDs in the car are a great diversion for children – even if they can’t read along, they can follow the pictures in their book while listening to the story.
What to read?
Choose age-appropriate books with imaginative pictures – interactive books with buttons that make sounds to accompany the story, or pop-up books, can help engage young children. Books which rhyme (sadly fewer and fewer these days) are always popular for their rhythm, which makes them easy for children to remember. Books where your child needs to contribute something to the story – such as counting, or shouting “Abracadabra!”, or repeating a refrain – are always popular.