Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reading to Your Baby

Many people start communicating with their babies while they are still in the womb. Although it is not exactly certain when the baby can hear what, it is known there are definite benefits to reading out loud during pregnancy, and even after the baby is born.

The consensus seems to be that around the 4th month, the baby will indeed start to hear sounds such as the mother's heart beating, the stomach gurgling, and the movement of blood. This is a time when the baby's ears start to develop nerve endings from the brain and protrude a bit off the head. Loud noises are also likely to get their attention (hoping for a future rockstar? This might be the time to play some upbeat music).

Shortly thereafter the baby might be able to pick up actual voices during conversations, but again it is tricky since there is so much going on between the ears and the actual outside world (think amniotic fluid and the not so cuddly protective paste covering the baby).

But into the 7th month it seems that a baby can actually recognize the voice of its mother as all the senses begin to really get in tune.

The vibrations of a mother's voice can be extremely enjoyable to the baby, and can help create a bond between them and their parents. Not only will it relax the baby, but it can relax the mother too, especially if she chooses to read one of her favorite books. Most expectant moms know how hard it can be to calm down and let go of stress, and reading out loud may do just that. And that's good for baby!

Sometimes the men feel left out since they can't really be a part of the physical experience, and reading can help them create that special bond too... don't leave out dad!
Ok so now the baby is... well, a real live baby! Don't stop reading to a child simply because it seems they can not understand. Reading to infants may
  • build listening vocabulary, and memory skills
  • introduce concepts
  • further parent-child bonding
  • teach them about communication
Babies don't understand pictures very well, but that doesn't mean they can't focus on them just the same. Books with bright colors and shapes will sti
ll grab their attention and by the time they are 6 months to a year old, they will begin to understand what pictures really mean.

A baby learns all the sounds it needs to speak its native language by the time he or she is one years old! So why not help them along the road to reading? They will have a much better vocabulary when they are finally ready to speak, more importantly being able to better communicate with mom and dad.

So pick up an ol' favorite and get going!

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