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As new parents, we are inundated with the importance of reading to our children. We can remember being a few weeks postpartum at a Mommy Group with a special guest - the Local Librarian! Even on only a few hours of sleep, it was stressed we NEEDED to take our newborn to the library. Highly doubtful we even remembered to brush our teeth that day, but ok, got it. See you at the Nursery Rhyme Class at 9am on Monday. Do we have to change out of leggings for this?
This focus on reading is not by accident. Studies show reading to babies contributes to the development of their growing brains. It can also help language development as they are taking in information and beginning to learn about speech patterns. By the time babies turn one, they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their language. So, then the question remains, what books are best to deliver these important skills? There’s so many topics we need to cover - colors, kindness, science, counting, sharing...how do you choose? The classic, new parenting mistake. 1. Thinking there’s only one perfect answer and 2. Thinking you’ll pick out something perfect for your baby (lololololol as a Mama of a Toddler now).
Here’s the thing: your kid is going to have a favorite book, but it might look different than you expected. You want it to be Goodnight Moon? Us too, but it didn’t happen. Envision yourself and your adorable baby reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? Same, but we’re still waiting. Much to our surprise, our Toddler’s favorite book is Barnyard Dance! Have we ever line-danced? No. Are we country music aficionados? Nope. Have we ever been to a barn besides as a wedding venue? Definitely not. But just like every other thing we claimed we’d never do as parents, we put on our best barnyard accent and read through this book with enthusiasm. While we didn’t have the highest hopes for this book, we noticed shortly after a few read throughs, our Toddler learned how to clap when we read the instruction. Then, he could pick out which was the Cow, which then led him to say moooo when he saw the Cow. Soon he was able to count the chicks, next he was telling us the chicks were yellow. Had Barnyard Dance turned this Toddler into a genius? Simple answer - YES.
Our do-si-do with Barnyard Dance was a quick (and much needed) lesson. Toddlers thrive in environments they choose, not necessarily the environment you picked. They will impress with their counting and color skills, but just let them do it their way. Is there any better feeling than watching your Baby smile and develop new skills? We can scientifically say, no, there is not. So, just buy the book. Buy lots of books and wait to see what clicks. Put on your best accent, silly voice, whatever it is you need to do, to get your Little One interested in reading. This is one investment definitely worth the time.
Few of our favorite books, besides the previously mentioned: