Reading to Baby

Did you know that aside from feeding and cleaning your baby, one of the top things you can do to support brain development is talking to them?

That’s right! In order to support brain development the experts encourage you to talk to a baby that can neither understand you or talk back! That’s alright, they say, just narrate your day to them. “Right now, baby, we are walking into the kitchen. And now we are in the kitchen. I’m opening the refrigerator and pulling out a diet soda.” NO THANKS!

In all seriousness though, as a parent this has been a major dilemma for me both times around. I want to talk to my kids, but I can’t find anything to say. Then I feel terrible because we’re just sitting there in silence, looking at each other.

And the thing is, my child loves hearing my voice! When I do talk he starts grinning that big baby smile they do that’s so cute, and squealing and making other adorable pterodactyl-type noises that mean he’s happy. I want to talk to him, but I just don’t have anything to say. I tend to get lost in my own head.

Luckily for me when I was pregnant with my first son I just happened upon an article talking about this very issue. Their suggestion? Read to your baby! Not picture books. They’re too young to care. No. They suggested just reading out loud whatever book you happen to be reading at the time.

I am here to tell you, friends, that this WORKS.

While my son is laying in his play-area, or sitting in his practice-sitting-up-chair, or even while I’m carrying him around the house, I just have my book open and read out loud. Sometimes I use my baby-talking voice for good measure, but a lot of the time I just read it. He loves hearing my voice, and I get to enjoy time with a (hopefully) good book. Win-win!

Okay, it’s sometimes jarring hearing grown-up situations come out of my baby-talk voice, but most of the time I don’t personally read anything too heavy anyway. If you do and it makes you feel weird reading it to a baby, I suggest having two reads at once and picking the lighter one for baby read-aloud time.

So! Whether you’ve got children of your own, are just babysitting for a friend or family-member, or just think there might be a small child in your life one day, take this gem of advice. I’m so glad I did.

P.S. As a thank you for reading this one all the way to the end, enjoy a picture of my cutie-patootie. See, told you he loved listening to me read. 🙂


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