The best help adults can give kids is to let them read what gives them pleasure or desired information. Kids will read, if the material meets their needs. (Of course, adults must read to their children every day until the child the takes the book and says, "Let me do it.") Of course, you read to babies. Prop up the baby with her back against your stomach and hold the book in front of her little face. Doesn't much matter which book, because her eyes don't focus very well yet. But she'll love hearing your voice, get used to sitting this way, and adore the comfort feeling that comes with Mom's or Dad's undivided attention.
Please, read only Good Books -- ones with bright, clear, excellent (not cutesy) illustrations and uncluttered pages. No text, or at most one line, is fine. Board books are perfect because tiny hands like to touch things. Babies LOVE to see pictures of other babies and young animals. Babies are doing a lot more thinking and mental processing than most people give them credit for.
***Many "toys" in the playpen should be board books or cloth books. The baby will "read" more and more as she is able to sit up and select playthings.
Read to your growing baby at least 2 or 3 times a day--always before naps as a good way of calming him. Ten minutes or so are enough at first. Be consistent if you want to create a reader.
And you do want to create a reader, because jobs for non-readers are nearly non-existent. I don't care how cuddly this baby is, you won't want him lounging around the house at age 25. You will want him well-educated and gainfully employed. Thus, he must become a reader. THIS is the time to start.
Baby is fussy??? Try some beautiful music in the background. Growing up with the sounds of orchestras and bands and rich voices enlarges the soul.
Still fussy? Give in and treat the baby to one of the Baby Einstein videos that combine classic music with just-right illustrations.
STILL fussy? If he isn't hungry or tired or stinky, then he is bored. Take him outdoors unless the weather is beastly. Push him in a stroller or wear him in a backpack and go for a hike. It'll make you healthy and calm the baby…at least most days it will. If you can't walk outdoors, walk around an indoor mall.
Books for Babies to Age 3
I Kissed the Baby!, by Mary Murphy.
Parents and youngsters love this sunny, funny book with black and white illustrations. All the animals in the barnyard are excited about the baby—especially mother duck, who kisses her very own duckling, who then appears in a startling splash of glowing yellow. This book seems so simple, yet it conveys the joy of a new baby, the warmth of well-wishers, and the miracle of another birth. See also I LIKE IT WHEN...by Mary Murphy.
All of Baby, Nose to Toes, by Victoria Adler, Ill. by Hiroe Nakata.
You will want to re-read this charming book, if only for Nakata’s charming watercolor illustrations, but the text is good, too. It rhymes, and was composed by the author when she was on the elliptical machine, working out as a new mom herself. Celebrate each portion of the baby’s anatomy along with the family members in this book. Consider giving this book to someone who’s having a baby. SLJ Starred Review.
A Frog Thing, by Eric Drachman, Ill.J. Muscarello
Beautiful, and different,too. The idea behind the short story is that you can do what you set your mind to. Frank is a frog and frogs can’t fly. But as it turns out, he has a turn at flying and learns something about himself while being borne aloft. It is okay to be a frog, after all. The illustrations set this book apart, I think, a combination of gouache, colored pencil, and pastels.
See also ELLISON THE ELEPHANT and LEO THE LIGHTNING BUG by Drachman.
Books for Babies to Age 3
- Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z by Richard Scarry.
Just looking at Lowly Worm on the cover of this chunky book makes me grin. Our daughters and son always loved the books by Richard Scarry. Those books were so well loved and used, they didn't survive. That's a testament to greatness. Enjoy!!
- Curious George at the Zoo: A Touch and Feel Board Book (2007) by H.A. and Margaret Rey.
George the monkey debuted many years ago and still has a strong claim on kids' affections. This sturdy book is a good way to begin the Curious George stories that will later suit a child from three to seven or eight. As always, the colors are bright, the art direct and uncomplicated, making Rey's books immediately accessible to young children.