advice

reading your child their first baby book

From The Hungry Caterpillar to The Slightly Annoying Elephant, sharing a story can be great fun for both you and your child. The good news is it’s never too early, or too late, to start.


mum reading baby books to her child

when should i start reading to my baby?

From day one if you want to! They may not understand stories to begin with, but they’ll love to listen to your voice and look at the pictures. First baby books are specially designed to appeal to inquisitive little minds. Baby reading books are full of bright, simple pictures and just a few words. Toddlers love interactive books, with buttons to press, flaps to lift and textures to explore.

where should i read to my child?

In short, you can read pretty much anywhere you want. Curl up with your child on the sofa, relax together on beanbags or spread out on a picnic rug under a tree. And, of course, there are few things nicer than snuggling up together in bed sharing a story. The main thing is to be comfy. Ideally, sit or lie side by side, so your child can look at the pictures while you read to them. Try to cut out all other distractions too, such as the TV, radio or social media alerts.

when should i read to my child?

Many parents swear by reading to their child at bedtime for helping them to sleep. There’s no reason to just keep books for night time though. You can read to your child anytime you both feel it. Try to pick a time when you can focus on just the book and your child for a little while.

what if i’m not a very good reader?

Your child won’t mind if you take a bit longer to read a word, or get things wrong sometimes. And by the time you’ve read their favourite book five times in a row, you’ll probably know it off by heart anyway!

what if my child keeps interrupting me?

Your child may well want to ask lots of questions, or talk about the pictures or characters. It’s all part of their learning. Try to stay patient, even when they ask the same question every time you read a book. Stories can also be a great way to help children understand their own emotions. It’s lovely to have a chat about the book afterwards – what they enjoyed, why they think the characters acted as they did and so on.

what type of books should i read to my child?

It’s usually best to pick ones that are appropriate for their age. Books that are aimed at older children might confuse or bore your little one. Other than that, there’s no real rules. You’ll probably want to read a few books you enjoyed as a child, or that you’ve heard about. Your child will love choosing a few for themselves too, once they’re old enough. A regular visit to the library can be a fun trip out for both of you. Libraries often have extra activities on too, from storytelling to craft.

should i read to all my children at the same time?

It’s lovely sharing stories as a family. You may well find that your older children enjoy picking out books for the younger ones. Try to devote some time to reading with school-age children on their own though, so they can practise their words and enjoy books that might not interest their siblings.

my child is at school, should i still keep reading to them?

It’s important to help your child to learn to read, so you’ll probably be listening to them read most days. It’s still a good idea to read to them regularly as well. Diana Gerald, chief executive at Book Trust, says: 'When children get older and learn to read for themselves, it can be tempting for parents to step back and let them continue their reading adventures alone. However, research shows the enjoyment of reading, developed through shared reading time with parents or carers, has a significant positive impact on a wide range of life outcomes, including social, personal, health and well-being, and educational.'