We’ve all heard the many advantages of reading to babies.
The younger you start, the better, or according to the experts. However, you may find that you are having a hard time keeping your young infant interested in the books that you are reading. This can also be the case for older infants that have discovered how fun crawling, walking and exploring can be. Sitting down and reading a book with Mum may seem a little too boring for these over-active infants. Many children will not really be too interested in books (except to chew on them) until they are a little older.
Here are a few ways to choose books that will keep their attention for a little longer and hopefully provide you with a few minutes of one on one bonding time.
Look for books that have similar phrases, rhymes or repeated sentences. This can make the story flow and also gives children something familiar to look forward to. Children learn to read by listening to you. Reading the same stories over and over again may get a little tiring for you but in time you may find that your child is actually able to read it to you through memorization. And this is the first step to learning to read on his own!
2. An Easy Plot
A story with well-defined sequences will provide the child to follow along and hopefully learn to recognize what happens. For example, a story about bedtime which features the lead- up (bath, food, story, cuddle, etc.) gives them something to identify with and helps the child see the steps that lead to the conclusion.
3. Bright Colours
Too many bright colours (think Animalia for example) can be over-stimulating for a little guy trying to get to sleep. So choose simpler books for bedtime (preferably about going to sleep or about something comforting) and leave the loud, complex books for day-time stories.
4. Things to Identify
Animals, shapes, numbers, household items – these are great for little eyes learning about the world. While a baby may not be able to tell you that the fluffy thing is a cat, you will notice that with repetition he will be able to identify things as time goes on.
5. Dramatic Qualities
Stories with different characters that have different voices can provide you with a chance to have some fun as well. You can use a soft voice for a bird, a louder voice for the big bear and a squeaky voice for a mouse. This can hold your child’s attention more and may also provide him with a few giggles.
Even if you think that your little one is hardly focusing on the book and continues to walk away, to chew the cover or to turn the pages for you at a ridiculously fast pace, it is still good to continue to read to them.
They will enjoy hearing your voice and will eventually keep focused and pay attention to the book.