Baby Book Worms

Reading has made its way into the nighttime routine in many households. We hear it from many parents,“bath, bottle, book, bed.” While we at Moms on Call love a good routine, we also know that reading is so much more than a step in the bedtime process.

Let’s talk about reading to our little ones!

Written by Moms on Call Consultant Sydney Smith, BSN, RN

I remember holding my little one around 8 weeks old. It was 8:00 pm, he’s literally snoring in my arms. I said to my husband (through gritted teeth…thank you hormones) “keep reading! It’s part of the routine!” Because my husband is a very sweet and patient man, he kept reading to our snoring infant. I have no idea if that particular night had an impact on him, but I’m happy to report that my baby boy, now 3 years old, loves to read.

More than just a sweet part of a nightly routine

Reading has made its way into the nighttime routine in households all over the world. We hear it from many parents — “bath, bottle, book, bed.” While we at Moms on Call love a good routine, we also know that reading is so much more than a step in the bedtime process.

By simply reading to your baby, you are:

  • Facilitating their speech and language development.
  • Stimulating their imagination.
  • Introducing them to some of the cornerstones of reading; sentence structure, rhyming and voice inflection.
  • Bonding with them!

Tips for reading with little bitties:

  • Let them choose! 
    • Older babies can show their preferences by reaching for or pushing a book away. Eventually pointing to their pick!
  • Have some books small enough for their little hands. Like these!
  • Rotate books, but also, don’t resist them wanting to read the same one over and over!
    • When babies hear the same words and see the same pictures, they begin to process what they are hearing and seeing. They can anticipate what is coming next.
  • When they can turn the page, allow them to decide when to move on. Give them time to focus on something they’re interested in on a particular page.
  • Read with expression! Hearing many new words helps with language development.

Let’s talk about reading to toddlers… Sometimes known as storytime sweat sesh.

I know I’m not the only mom to have left library story time sweating from chasing a toddler who won’t sit and listen to the story wondering, “Was that even worth it??” The short answer is yes. Our wonderful local librarian (and perhaps my toddler’s first crush) Ms. Mary assured me that consistency helps toddlers learn the rules of both the library and story time. Continue to go and know that bringing snacks can help!

Use your librarian to help you locate books on:

  • Potty training
  • Starting school
  • Moving to a big boy or big girl bed
  • Places you may be visiting soon (the beach, the mountains, etc.)
  • Animals your toddler is interested in

A few toddler tips:

While we don’t want to discourage reading, toddlers are sneaky and know that the golden phrase “one more book” can be used to stall bedtime.

  • Have them choose 2-3 books to read before bed.
  • If no longer napping, have a basket of regular and activity books they can read during quiet time.
  • Keep a few books in the car for them to flip through on the road.

Some of our household favorites

Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen (great repetition)

MAMA, DADA and BABY, by Jimmy Fallon (again, great repetition)

Little Quack’s Bedtime, by Lauren Thompson (good book for conversations about being afraid of the dark)

Shake My Sillies Out, by Raffi (get out a little energy before bed!)

Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton (I’ve read this book, no joke, approximately 400 times in 3 years)

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (one of my absolute favorites)

First 100 Board Books, by Roger Pritty (these are awesome for learning words and engaging babies who can point to what they know even if they are not talking yet)

Peek-a Who?, by Nina Laden (so sweet when they start to fill in the “ooo” sound)

Moms on Call provides simple, sensible parenting resources to sleep, feed, laugh, and love birth through toddlerhood. View all of Moms on Call’s safety product recommendations on our Products We Love and Toddler Toys & Safety pages.  Our Online Video Courses and books are also great resources with safety tips throughout!