It's no secret that reading keeps the mind active, promotes creativity, enhances the imagination and helps build memory skills so it is important to create healthy habits from an early age.
In recent years, research has proven that reading books to babies can increase vocabulary and of course helps to develop early reading skills so it is never too early to start.
While many expectant mums and dads read to their baby before they are born, it is so important to read to your baby from at least three or four months old. They may not understand the concept but it is a wonderful way to spend time with your baby, to connect and in some cases, soothe them.
What are the benefits of reading to your baby?
Reading books at any age puts you into a state of relaxation that can pull you into a deep and peaceful sleep, so it's a win-win for everyone involved. Make reading before bedtime a healthy habit for everyone at home in a bid to boost the sleep situation.
Many people associate books with happiness and rightly so.
Reading regularly will not only promote bonding, but it will also encourage the all-important one-on-one time especially if you have more than one child at home.
What can I do to help my baby to enjoy storytime?
It is important to encourage your baby to engage during storytime by asking them to look, point, touch and listen while allowing them to answer simple questions like, "Where is the dog?"
Making your voice higher and lower where appropriate will keep your child engaged and will teach them expressive language skills which will benefit them as they grow.
Babies learn through repetition, so never be afraid of reading their favourite book over and over again even if it drives you insane. Over time babies begin to recognize certain sounds and the rhythm of language, promoting their oral language skills.
What books should I get my baby?
When looking at books for your baby choose interactive options to engage the different senses. Try to invest in different textures such as cloth books or touchy-feely books, fold-out or pop-up books and of course, board books with big bright bold colour and illustrations.
Books with mirrors are an added bonus, especially soft cloth books with crinkly noises - babies love them.
Popular baby books include Where's Spot? by Eric Hill, Jellycat Jungly Tails, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
And finally, remember you don't need to spend a small fortune buying books to entertain, make a day of it each month to visit your local library and simply borrow age-appropriate books for your baby.