In the modern age of technology, many people underestimate the value of reading a good book to their children. Reading books is not only a way for children to improve their imagination, learn new words and develop cognition. It is also a way for parents or caregivers to bond with the child by spending the time together and ‘living through’ the story. Reading a book as a part of bedtime routine helps a child relax and sleep better.
Choosing a good book is not a difficult task. You can find a lot of help by asking a librarian at your local library, asking fellow mothers or just remembering what books were your favorites when you were a child. As your children grow older, you can ask them what they would like to read about and go from there. Here are some simple rules for picking an age appropriate book for your child:
Infants (up to 12 months):
- Books made of cardboard or plastic – durable ones that will withstand wear and tear
- Books with objects familiar to your child – toys, pets, animals, babies, people
- Books with bright colored pictures
- Books your child can explore – touchable with different textures, books making sound, etc.
- Books with simple rhymes
Toddlers (up to age 2):
- Sturdy books with large pictures and few words on a page
- Books telling simple stories about people or animals
- Books that show characters in action (walking, sleeping, eating)
- Books with rhymes that children can memorize
Preschooolers: (up to age 5):
- There should be a picture on at least every other page to help keep your child’s interest
- Stories should involve your child’s knowledge (such as numbers, colors or shapes)
- Stories can be more adventurous and involve children, pets or imaginary creatures
- Books with large font that your child can read on his own
- At least small pictures that can be black-and-white
- Books about the topics or with characters that your children like
- Books that make your child ask questions and think
Remember, you do not have to be only reading books to your child before he is going to sleep. It can be done at any other part of the day – think a lazy morning in bed or afternoon snacking on the balcony. If you do not have time to physically sit down with your child and read, you can record your own reading and then replay it to your child whenever you want. It is easy to do through your smartphone or a baby monitor. Alternatively, you can choose an audiobook if your child is older – younger children will prefer their mother’s voice over professional readers.