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 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
RHYMING DUST BUNNIES (2009), by Jan ThomasI just love this book. The three colorful dust bunnies - Ed, Ned, and Ted - have a rhyming festival on each page EXCEPT that another dust bunny named Bob never rhymes. Keep your eyes on Bob! What appears to be sheer loopiness is growing into a message, and later another message. Beware all ye who are dust bunnies! The art is perfect - bright, distinctive - but it really wouldn't matter much, as this is a hilarious book.
MEOW SAID THE COW (2011), by Emma DoddYou can tell by its title that this will be an imaginative book. And so it is, thanks to the resident cat who loves magic and tricks. After a while, "The horse was quacking, the ducks were neighing - and nobody knew quite what they were saying." The wacky animals, humorous rhymes, and bright, true colors suit the story well, making a package of pure fun!
I'M DIRTY! (2006), by Kate and Jim McMullenThis title is a companion book for the McMullen's I STINK!, the tale of a city garbage truck. Here the hero is a backhoe. "Who's got a BOOM, a dipper stick, and a BUCKET with a row of choppers? ME. And that's just my REAR end." Studded with other trucks and big equipment, each with a distinctive face, this book is a treasure.
SHOUT! SHOUT IT OUT! (2011), by Denise Fleming"Everybody loves to shout. So if you know it, shout it out! Ready. Set. GO!" This is a super read-aloud book for little ones, who really do love to shout. As they answer the questions posed by the book, they'll be counting, naming animals, shouting out the alphabet, colors, and numbers in this deceptively simple book. An excellent interactive experience.
WAITING FOR WINGS (2007), by Lois EhlertIllustrator Lois Ehlert is known for her exquisite collages, here paired with charming rhymes and many facts about how butterflies develop, how they find nectar for food, and what to plant for a butterfly garden. Everyone will enjoy this reading experience.
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