'Why should I read to my baby? It's not like he understands!'

Imagine for a second that the world is brand new for you. That all you see around you are things you have no recollection of ever witnessing previously. That every experience is a new one and each sensation down to smelling the fry up cooking in the kitchen and every sound down to the sound Daddy makes when he kisses you on the nose is brand spanking new. What an amazing world!

Our babies have so many new experiences every minute of every day that we don't even realise the impact we have upon these new, tiny, beautiful humans before us. For me, as an adult (society has forced me to accept that I am one of these), one of the very few things in life that comes close to giving me a feeling similar to equate to this sense of wonder is reading. Picking up a book and becoming so immersed in its events, characters and settings is such a journey.

I promise that it is not just the teacher in me speaking when I say that one of the most important experiences for a baby or any child is to see and hear their parents telling or reading them stories. Being a teacher makes me feel super lucky because without me even specifically making an effort to, my bump was exposed to the wonders of Roald Dahl, Ted Hughes, JK Rowling and so much more before Squish was even born. Reading to your bump is just another way for your yet to be born baby to hear your voice; their favourite sound! They don't need to understand how horcruxes are created (bet you wish you knew, you evil you), they just appreciate hearing your expressive voices.

I am realistic though and I know just how hazy, exhausting and on many an occasion just completely delirious days of being a new parent can be. Quite honestly, I don't really remember when I got my bearings back after having Squish but it did happen. I do know, however, that reading to him was something I always knew I would do as soon as I could. He is 5 months now and yes some days are just too busy and we both simply want our beds more than we want a story but his Dad and I both love a little storytime.

The purpose of telling your baby is story is not so that they will become familiar with the story. When they're older, they may not even like a story you may think they'll love! And that's okay. They're individuals. The sensory stimulation from the illustrations supports the development of a baby as they are going through rapid phases of mental growth. In addition to this, they will continue to have the opportunity to develop an understanding of expression and emotion through your intonation and voice. Most of all, for me, many habits begin early. If you build reading in as something which helps you, baby and your partner to relax then you will find it becomes second nature and becomes embedded within your lives. Children grow up so fast and reading shouldn't be just about filling in reading diaries for school to help them move up book bands. It should be a choice, a desire...a hideout! It's our duty to our children to ensure they don't see reading as a hurdle and if they encounter difficulties with reading then we support them with these and not diminish the significance of reading no matter what our personal opinions of reading may be. Don't deny them of the magical places that books can transport them to; whether that is through the woods with a little mouse or through a wardrobe! If you can't do it daily, that's ok! Do what you can. If you struggle to know what to read to your baby, take a little trip to the library. And finally, if you find reading a challenge or have reading difficulties please don't be discouraged! Make up silly stories, use Youtube to orally retell, use puppets and remember everyone makes things work their way with their babies. No way is a perfect way.

I really hope I don't come off as preachy, it is just something that I am passionate about and so my ramble is a little more assertive than usual. Here's to many adventures with your biggest adventure; your child!

Squish, when you are all grown up and reckon you've gotten too old to read or you have no time to read...I'll remind you of what your little face looked like when you first looked at the Hungry Caterpillar or how you squealed when you saw your Gruffalo finger puppets.



  1. I totally agree with you on this. Reading is one of my favourite things to do and so I'm always reading to my girls. Reading opens up a childs imagination and transports them to an amazing world! Thanks so much for linking up to #Blogstravaganza, it'd be great to see you again next week xx


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