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7 Tips for Reading to Your Baby

Thanks to Disney Baby for sending me these precious books for free.

Many parents feel awkward at first when reading to a baby who can’t talk or respond much yet. However, early reading is not only stimulating to Baby but is also a lovely way of connecting.

Here are a few tips including how to choose your Baby’s books, how to “read” a wordless book, and getting Baby involved in the story.

When Should You Start to Read to Your Baby?

Start reading to Baby as soon as she is born and she’ll be more open to story time as she grows. Anything you read out loud will be fine, as it’s all about tone of voice and inflection. Around 4 months old, your baby may be able to sit and stay awake for a longer period of time to enjoy a book. By the time he is 8 months old, he’ll be patting the pages and trying to turn them himself. At a year old, Baby will be bringing you books and requesting story time. You might find yourself reading her favorite over and over again! Soon enough Baby will be “reading” himself, pulling books off the shelf and pouring over the pictures. 

Choosing the Right Time

I like to read to my daughter after dinner and bath time in the evening. I find that she’s relaxed but not overly tired. Mid-afternoon, between naps, is good too. Sometimes allowing Baby to nibble on a snack during story time will help encourage them to sit with you while you read. Or just grab a few books off the shelf and sprawl out on the floor together (babies love it when you get down to their level!)

Choosing the Right Style of Book for Your Baby

Babies need books that they can hold and read by themselves. Look for fabric books if your baby is still chewing on everything. Board books with stiff pages are sturdy and can withstand Baby wear and tear. Save hardbound and paperback books with thin pages for Baby when they are a bit older and less likely to handle them roughly.

Picture This

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Look for books with bold graphics that will catch Baby’s attention. My 8-month-old daughter absolutely loves her new My First Words book. The combination of bright colors and limited text are perfect for her attention span. And as a Disney fan, I am delighted with the precious illustrations featuring familiar characters drawn in a sweet way that is appealing to babies. 

“Reading” a Book to a Baby

Baby books often have limited text or are wordless. So how can you “read” to your baby? Take your cue from the pictures and just talk about what you see. Point out the scene and what the characters are doing. Using action and descriptive words will help your baby readily grasp the concepts.

Keep your tone of voice lively and vary your volume from whispering to loud excitement to keep your baby’s attention. You won’t get much response from your newborn. But as your baby grows, she’ll be able to point things out on the pages and repeat words and phrases back to you!

Look for Special Features

As Baby grows, offer her books with fun features like textured pages to touch, scents to smell and flaps to lift. The Look at Me! book has mirrors on each page for Baby to look at himself–something every baby loves!

With pages that extend up, down and sideways, the My First Colors book expands on the scene to the delight of older babies. Encourage gentle hands and show Baby how to use the pages with reminders to be careful when handling the flaps (you’ll be reminding them of that quite a bit!)

The Gift of a Perfect Book

You really can’t go wrong with gifting books to Baby. This My First Year book is a meaningful gift set that celebrates Baby’s special moments. A charming board book is included inside the keepsake box, along with cards on which parents can write the date that baby meets that milestone. Take a photo of Baby with the card as a memento or to share with family and friends.

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