In my two years of motherhood, I’ve had many proud mommy moments and I know I have even more to come. Hands down, my favourites are when my son points to his bookshelf or grabs a book and shoves it in my hand to read to him.
I started reading to him when he was about two months old, and almost every day since he was three months old. I’m personally a wannabe bookworm. I’ve always loved going into a bookstore to hold and smell new books. With my dad being an avid reader, I’ve envied that I didn’t naturally get his reading bug gene – so I vowed to encourage my children to read regularly, starting them as young as possible.
National Book Week, took place in the first week of September and is an initiative by the South African Book Development Council aimed at encouraging the country to incorporate reading as a regular activity. As few as 14% of South Africans are active readers, and only 5% of parents read to their children.
“Remember, books grow as children do. There’s always a selection of books suitable for the age of your child.”
I’ve always known that reading is extremely beneficial for all of us but there are so many benefits, particularly children. In this age of multiple screens, I love the idea of being old school and sitting with my boy, reading him a good story. There’s so much joy in my heart when he engages with the book by touching it, turning the pages, opening up flaps and doing the actions encouraged by the book.
Here are some great reasons to read to your child:
- It improves imagination.
- It increases intelligence.
- It helps to build vocabulary.
- It increases productivity.
- Boosts brain power.
Apart from the above, I realised that there is one massive benefit of reading that I’m seeing now, as he’s a bit older. It’s also his favourite thing to do with his dad. New dads are usually quite nervous and don’t really know how to bond with their baby. Reading is a great, fool-proof activity dad can handle that doesn’t really require any skills other than, well, literacy.
And even then, most children’s books are image-heavy so you can even get around it by improvising the actual story. I’m always intrigued when my husband reads a book that I usually read to our son at bedtime. He does the characters’ voices completely differently and tells the story in his own way, which gives it a nice fresh spin to it, even for me.
A follower recently asked me when she should start reading to her baby. Remember how I said I was the crazy mom who starting reading to her two-month-old? I kid you not, by seven months he was able to indicate which book he wanted me to read and by 11 months, he used some of his first steps to grab a book and shove it in my hand to read to him.
I honestly don’t think it’s ever too soon to start. Remember, books grow as children do. There’s always a selection of books suitable for the age of your child. I just hope my son’s love for books is one that he’ll have until adulthood.
This article was written specially for BabyYumYum by Aisha & Life.
Aisha O’Reilly is a young African woman who loves natural hair, beauty and being a new mommy, among other things. Her aim is to inspire and encourage fellow women by giving them a peek into her life, with all of its ups, downs, questions and adventures in her blog, Aisha and Life.