Most babies and toddlers adore looking at beautiful books. Not only is reading to your baby a wonderful bonding experience, it has huge developmental benefits for them too. And although they wont actually understand the words, reading to your baby helps them build their listening, vocabulary, and communication skills, as well as their memory. A recent study showed that children who had been read to lots as babies could say and understand many more words than those who had not.
There are plenty of wonderful books out there for young babies. Here are some of our all-time personal favourites;
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle- A classic and a must have, its great for everyone from young babies to toddlers. Children learn about colours, nature, food and the days of the week through beautiful vibrant illustrations and text.
- Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg- Adorable book about the day in the life of a baby, with beautiful illustrations and a lovely rhyming story. It has a large cutaway circle in the centre which attracts little hands, so we’d recommend buying the hardback version. (We learnt the hard way!)
- Guess how much I love you by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram- A beautiful story above the love between a child (or a bunny to be precise) and his parents.
- Gossie by Olivier Dunrea- The first book in a series about a gosling who has sweet and funny adventures.
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell- A cute and funny lift the flap book about trying to decide what pet to buy.
- Are you my mother? by P.D Eastman. A classic, this wonderful story follows a baby bird as he tries to find his mother, after he falls out of the nest.
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats- a magical story about a small boy’s wonder and delight when he wakes up to find the world covered with snow.
- The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr- For babies a little older, this is a great story about a little girl who has a very special guest one evening.
- Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion- A funny story about a small dog that hates having baths. He get so dirty one day his family don’t recognise him.
And last but not least, one especially for bedtime…
- Goodnight Moon- It’s time to lull baby to sleep with this simple yet wonderful book about a bunny rabbit saying goodnight to his world before he goes to bed.
Some tips for reading.
Help your baby feel snug and warm while you read. Try to put expression into your voice as you read, or try doing different voices for each character. If there are pictures of animals, why not point to them and make the appropriate sound? If baby loves a particular part of the story, feel free to repeat it as often as you like (babies love repetition, it’s how they learn). Most of all enjoy this wonderful time with your baby.