Infants and Toddlers
Creating a Book Collection for Your Baby
Creating a Book Collection for Your Baby
Regardless of age, reading is an essential part of any child’s development, but even more so for babies and toddlers. Building the perfect collection of literature for your child is important to their cognitive growth, and can be a great way for you to spend some time with each other. Keep reading for some ideas on how to create a collection you both will enjoy.
When is the best time to introduce reading to your child? As soon as possible! Reading provides a treasure trove of benefits for your baby, including increased brain function, self- and environmental awareness, and relaxation. Most importantly, it is a prime opportunity for you to spend some one-on-one time with your child, and create a bond that will last well on into their childhood. So how exactly do you build the perfect library for your little one, you may ask? Be sure to include a few books in each of the genres below to begin, keep adding new favorites, and in due time your newbie’s book collection will grow to be a compilation of smiles, laughs, and wonderment for years to come.
Visual Stimulation: Infants especially require books that provide images that are visually appealing to them. A newborn’s vision is best described as fuzzy, and the can typically only see a foot or two in front of them until they reach a couple of months old. To introduce reading at this time, you might want to invest in some picture books – words aren’t yet necessary. Books with images of contrasting colors (black, red and white) will provide the highest level of visibility for your new baby. As they become a little less new (around three to four months old), you will want to incorporate books that contain more colors and actual pictures of common items.
Letters, Shapes, and Colors: When your baby reaches the five month mark and starts to pay a little more attention to the books, begin to share books that contain early concepts such as colors, shapes and letters. There are a variety of ‘My First…’ books on the market, and although your baby is unable to communicate any of these concepts at this time, they can begin to process the information. Aim for books that are soft or plush to the touch, to engage their tactile senses and encourage their participation in the reading process.
Nursery Rhymes: Nursery rhymes are great for younglings of any age. They are the perfect way to enforce a bedtime routine by putting out soothing vibes for your baby and eliciting a sense of calm and comfort from them. The rhythm of rhyming words promotes memory in your little one, and these are most likely the stories that your child will remember sharing with you later on in life.
Chapter Books: When your child becomes older, around one year old, you might want to consider introducing chapter books, stories that you can spread over the course of a few nights rather than just one. Although your child might not understand the concepts of the stories, they will begin to become familiar with themes such as continuance. Incorporate these stories with shorter books that can be enjoyed in one sitting, as to not lose their interest.
Play Along Books: Babies as young as six months old can take part in the fun and excitement of play along books – books with pop-up pictures, tabs, tactile engagement and question and answer prompts. These books are great for when your baby is at maximum alertness, and an entertaining way to pass the time at the doctor’s office or anywhere else where he might become bored.
Activity Books: At eighteen months and beyond, activity books are a wonderful way to engage your child in pre-writing and cognitive activities. Coloring books, books that ask questions, and books with picture searches or matching all incorporate reading with thought processes and pre-school concepts.
What next? At this point, your child is old enough to join you at the bookstore or library and select books that interest him on his own. Steer him towards categories he seems most intrigued by (i.e. animals, weather, trucks), but also remember to include topics he may not already be familiar with, like science fiction or social matters, to broaden his horizons.
By this time, your little one will be no stranger to the breathtaking world of reading!