There’s this picture that I really love.  It’s an etching from the Victorian times, and it’s of a family gathered around an armchair.  The children are arranged around their mother who is reading to them, and they’re all totally engrossed in the book.  I love it because it gives me such a sense of nostalgia, a sense of family, and I think what gives me those feelings all centres around the book.

According to the National Literacy Trust, less than half of 0-2 year olds are read to daily by their parents.  This increases after the age of two, which is great, but it seems as if not all parents are aware of the benefits of reading to babies and toddlers.  In this article we’re going to chat all things baby books!

I reckon a lot of people would find it strange to think about reading to a newborn.  I mean we love them and they’re very cute, but they don’t seem to be too engaged with anything other than milk at this point, right?  But there are quite a few reasons why reading to very small babies can benefit everyone in the household.

Firstly, for the baby, it really helps them assign your voice to your face.  Think about it, while they were in the womb they could only hear their caregivers, and research suggests that babies respond to their mother and father’s voices before they respond to the sight of them.  Consistently reading to them will allow them to see your face as you speak, meaning they will get used to your face more quickly.

Secondly, for you it could help with bonding.  As mothers, we get told that you have an unbreakable bond with your baby as soon as they are born, but a lot of us will know that sometimes that bond can take time.  Your whole world has been turned upside down and you haven’t slept longer than two hours in who knows how long!  Spending time reading to your baby in the early days can help to establish a stronger connection.  And hey, you don’t have to read baby books if you don’t want to.  Love Heat?  Read out the celebrity gossip column to them, it’s not like they’ll know!

Thirdly, it can help the whole family with getting a routine sorted off the bat.  We know that newborns haven’t quite got their body clocks sorted, but while they’re getting to grips with their daily patterns, a story before they go to sleep or just after they wake up can be really helpful to start giving gentle cues to their rhythm as they grow up.

Reading is pretty much established as an amazing thing you can do for your pre-schoolers to get them learning language ready for school, but don’t underestimate the fun you can have with younger children and books!

Here at Ooh we have loved creating our Baby Collection.  With eco friendly toys and fun educational gifts for little ones including story-time gift sets.