It's no secret that reading and singing aloud to your baby helps them learn and grow. Story Time interactions now mean indispensable language and social skills for your baby later. Plus, Story Time fosters a close emotional relationship between you and your baby.
But it's also no secret your baby is more likely to try eat and crinkle a book than to turn its pages (we know this well). On those special days, when you spend half of Story Time chasing the little one around so they can see the pages, it can be easy for parents to ask, "Why are we doing this?" Experts say exposing babies to books in their first few years is crucial to their intellectual and emotional growth. So how can I meaningfully engage with my child through Story Time?
Parents Magazine provides some tips here for reading to both babies and toddlers. If you enjoy Books and Cookies Story Times and many of our other parent-and-me classes, I bet some of the suggested techniques will sound familiar!
"When you read aloud to your baby, you're teaching her to recognize that different sounds have different meanings -- and that's the foundation of speech and comprehension," says Marilyn Segal, PhD, dean emeritus of the Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale.
Picture books with bright, simple images provide visual stimulation that enhances your child's cognitive skills. Story Time books help you child connect images with sounds and meaning. That's why in the the middle of our Stoy Times, we take several pauses to ask questions and make comments about what's on the page. Pointing out objects and talking about them with your baby is a key part of a Books and Cookies Story Time.
So when we interrupt the story to say something like, "See Pete's blue shoes? They're just like the blue socks on your feet!" and reach out to tickle your child's piggies, you'll know what we're up to.
The repetive and inquisitive inflection and tone is designed to engage your baby. It help link names with specific objects, and images in books to those in real life. It doesn't matter if the children are too young to respond to "What animal is this?" and "What does a kitty say?" Ask, and answer. They are listening and learning!
Of course, reading to babies and toddlers isn't always a fairy tale. While sometimes they sit still and listen intently, other times they wiggle and fuss or fixate on pulling the book out of your hand. We try eliminating distractions during our classes, but sometimes giving your child something to hold, such as an instrument or a toy, does the trick. We always use dramtic tactics like raising or lowering our voices, making faces to show emotion, and lots of eye contact to engage children in a story. For the more active little ones, we also make use of props and structured hands-on play to enhance our storytelling. The goal in any Story Time is to draw them into the stories, and make Story Time not just a fun activity, but an enriching one for both you and your baby.
We really can’t emphasize enough how important Story Time is for your baby! It's a crucial 30 minutes a day, and it’s never too early to start the routine.
Inspired by Parents.com
By Samantha, Store Manager