As a mum, I want the best for my kids.
As a teacher, it is easy to see the power of books.
As a psychology student, I am understanding more about how our fascinating brains work
…and now have access to endless research articles.
And the research says (you’ve probably heard it before!):
- In the early months, reading to baby will especially benefit the parents/caregivers. The cuddling in your arms, the gentle breaths. You are developing bonds, familiarity, security.
- Baby learns language through you. If baby isn’t interested, don’t force it. Time will come. Choose a time when baby is calm.
- Baby learns to sustain their attention.
- Reading books encourages brain development.
- After a few months babies will interact, touch, feel and place them into mouths. Follow baby’s lead and chew on a book too… no, just kidding! Try a different time to read, maybe while in their highchair finishing a snack, in the bath or crawling around their room.
- Eventually baby will pick their own book, and you will have to read it over and over and over and over again. Moments to treasure 🙂
- Reading to baby in the early months improves language and broader social communication skills like turn taking, empathy and understanding facial expressions.
As an added bonus, singing to babies is just as great, and adds the elements of melody, rhyme and rhythm.
- Singing lullabies to baby while pregnant improves maternal-infant bonding.
- Evidence also suggests positive effects on neonatal behaviour (including less crying and babies are calmed easier!) and maternal stress. AWESOME!!!!
- Day-old infants detect and react to different rhythms.
- Singing calms baby and parent.
- Anyone can sing… well, this wasn’t in the data, but seriously if the only one that is listening is the child you have in your arms, well you are a superstar!
So a book that can be sung is just the best of both worlds now, isn’t it 😉
Sweet dreams xo
Brown, M. I., Westerveld, M. F., Trembath, D. & Gillon, G. T. (2017). Promoting language and social communication development in babies through an early storybook reading intervention. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology. doi:10.1080/17549507.2017.1406988
Fink, C. (2012). Sing to your belly. Midwifery Today, 104, 40-42.
Kopp, C. B. (1995). Why read to your baby? Parents, 70, 58-60.
Persico, G., Antolini, L., Vergani, P, Costantini, W, Nardi, M. T. & Bellotti, L. (2017). Maternal singing of lullabies during pregnancy and after birth: Effects on mother-infant bonding and on newborns’ behaviour. Concurrent cohort study. Women and Birth, 30, 214-220. doi:/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.01.007