Why reading is magic for babies and toddlers

When I was still pregnant with my first baby my shopping addiction spiralled a bit out of control.

It’s such a rush when you get past the first 12 weeks and feel you can start preparing your home for the little arrival.

With joy, comes a lot of spending. I hit the shops, hard. Baby clothes, toys, gadgets, a baby bath (utterly useless, don’t bother!) and, one of my favourite things to pick out, books.

I think one of my first purchases was a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of my own childhood favourites

I have such fond memories of reading that book as a child. Looking through the pages of the copy I bought for my daughter, the unique illustrations really stirred up memories of when I was little.

I added several books to the shelf in the nursery as the countdown to the baby arriving continued.

Fast forward two years and we have well over 100 children’s books littering the shelves, chairs, floors and sometimes even the garden.

My toddler adores reading. She could happily sit for an hour while we read to her and has had this lengthy attention span for as long as I can remember.

Before we had our second child and mornings became a bit more hectic, I would always read to her first thing in the morning, then several times throughout the day and again before bedtime.

Now I have two kids it’s harder to make as much time for reading as we used to, but we still manage a bedtime story and a bit of reading in the day.

Reading to both my kids at the same time is pretty tricky, as my baby inevitably grabs for the book which angers my toddler. Even though it sometimes leads to a falling out, I’m so keen to nurture their interest in reading.

Here’s why I think reading to children is brilliant fun and an important part of family time:

You get to snuggle up close to your child
Any excuse to have a cuddle with your kids is a good thing. I love putting my arm around my toddler with my baby in my lap and relaxing with a nice story.

It’s amazing for their language development
My toddler knows hundreds of words, recognises a lot of the alphabet and speaks in pretty impressive sentences. Although that unfortunately means she’s better at arguing with me, I’m thrilled that her language is developing so well.

I would say part of it at least must be how much we and her nursery have read to her. It’s helped her pick up new words as she can point out pictures in the book and I explain what she can see.

There’s loads of choice
There are so many new books for kids that are brilliant along with the old classics from my childhood. We have a scarily large number of Julia Donaldson books, but they are all so great that we just keep buying more from her collection! My favourite is The Gruffalo, but The Scarecrows’ Wedding is also lovely.

My toddler often asks for the same book two or three times in a row. I try to steer her away from this as it gets boring for me. Having a big variety of books to choose from helps!

You can develop shared jokes
We are constantly looking for the Gruffalo whenever we go into the woods for a walk. She also wants to find the snake, mouse, owl and fox.

When we come across a funny part of a story, or I put on a funny voice, it’s nice that she always laughs at it, no matter how many times we’ve read that book.

It’s great for bonding
If we’re in the car on the way home from nursery I will often ask my daughter about what she read that day. The Dinosaur that Pooped seems to be a big favourite at the moment! It’s nice to ask her questions about the story and what she liked about it.

It can make the time pass pretty fast
We are all guilty of clock watching at times. I find it helps to sit down with a huge stack if books to take my attention away from the time.

It’s a great excuse to go shopping
Books are one thing I feel absolutely no guilt about spending money on. I see them as both fun and educational.

Once she’s learning to read for herself the huge stacks of books will be great for my toddler to practice with.

Here are my daughter’s favourite books at the moment, in case you’re looking for inspiration:

Mog and the Granny
Elmer and the Rainbow
Spinderella
A Squash and A Squeeze
Stickman

Do you have any child reading recommendations? I would love to hear some suggestions!

V
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Why reading to your kids is magic - how books benefit babies and toddlers

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2 Comments

  1. August 21, 2017 / 6:49 am

    We love to read in our house too. The girls love to pick out their choices of books and would have them read over and over again.

    • August 21, 2017 / 7:02 am

      It’s so lovely isn’t it. When I’m tired it can be a struggle when I get presented with 10 books but it’s still so worth it x

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