Raising a Book-Lover in your child

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My Third Culture Kid, A book lover, a wide reader at age 3

“Children are made readers on the lap of their parents “-Emily Buchwald

Do you read books to your child?

Being a first time mother, I am ever-curious, almost for everything. From baby care to fun activities with children up to how to raise your child to read and love books! Thanks to the internet that information is just a finger’s tap away. This is the reality of an Expat life without the luxury of having your immediate relatives living nearby. You learned how to deal with almost everything by yourself.  Even when I was still pregnant, I read that reading is one thing that you could do with your child as a special bonding time. I hope for the best in raising my child , which I understand  is a universal wish of every parent. Early habits are formed during the growing years of childhood and this includes the ways we teach them every single day. What happens every single day inside your home is the fundamentals of her early development years. There’s no greater peace you can find from having your child on your lap and exploring the wonderful world of reading.

I set up a goal for myself and my daughter : I want her to love reading. I don’t know how is it going to be in the future but I ma living each day materializing this goal. Books should be an integral part of her childhood and it is my responsibility as a parent to guide her in this.

I’m a firm believer that inside our home is where the first learning starts. Reading to infants and babies at an early stage has a great impact on the receptive and expressive language development, whether it’s for learning, character building or literacy purposes. Be it plain reading ,story-reading, reading -out-Loud, Picture Book Reading, Joint-Reading, Shared Reading, playing while reading ,really , it doesn’t matter. As long as you incorporate books into your child’s  daily routines . Trust me ,it’s proven to have long term results.

There’s no greater joy for me than to see my daughter flipping the pages of her books everyday at the same time eating them! The moment she woke up , she ran up to her basket of books and start “making  messy-reading “.  I dunno why she do it, but she just loves to throw, snuggle, crash, and throw all her books all around her. We started to read to her as soon as she was born. Every single day, every single morning. Does this sound boring to you? Trust me, it will soon pay-off!

Every single moment of her playtime, or anytime we feel like grabbing her books. When we go out, we always stash a book or two for her to read and play. She’s just 17 months old ,and I know that she still cannot read, but the fact that she’s so engrossed with books and shows signs of loving it more than she loved her toys really made me smile.She knows the character of the stories, the sounds, and the pictures. She even have her all time favorites!

I was lucky that my daughter was gifted with a bunch of books. Since then, I tried to make time for her &  set a goal to read aloud to her,  reading the picture-books to her everyday, flipping the pages for her dreamy eyes to enjoy the colorful images and gobble on it eventually. I even put a book on her bath time. With the presence of iPads, iphones & TV nowadays,it’s easy to give in to this threats. The flashy screens are so tempting and attractive for your toddlers, But I tell you, there is no greater gift to your child than to read a book to her while in your lap.

This really made a daily bonding time between us.

So how to raise a book-lover in your child? Here’s how I’m doing it and loving it so far;

  • First, Start early. -There’s never too-early to read to your child.If you let her be exposed to books and the habit of reading at an early stage, the better. Soon she will catch it all by herself. She will have a body clock calling for reading!
  • Make your own Baby-Library. -I put out all her books in one basket that is accessible to her on her tummy time and during the time that she can actually grab it and flip through the pages. Investing on great, classic pieces is always a good idea. I’ve never been so aware about children’s books & stories since I began reading to her. It has been a learning phase for me as well. I had to memorize the characters of the story so I can read a loud better.
  • Make it a habit.- Stick to your routine. Babies picked up fast when you do it in repetition. They will eventually memorize the rhymes, the covers, the texture,the sound, and your voice while you read it with them. Do it before going to bed,after napping, or even while you snuggle with your child.
  • Create a Reading Haven.- In your Home or in a tiny quiet corner in your house.Yes ,create a cozy reading area  or a little corner/nook for you and your Little One.Put on some throws pillows and spread a mat and get those books for you to enjoy and linger on each moment.Soon, she will learn that special  place is place for her to be absorbed with books. This place should be free from distraction.You can even do this while having finger snacks for her too. Sounds absolutely fun!
  • Visit a Library and Bookshop together.- Let your child explore and choose the books she like.In this stage she will for sure play, scatter and bite on those,Just let her let go of her steam. We brought our daughter to a bookstore in Amsterdam once she was just 9 months old and we were quite astonished to see  her delight when she saw the bookshelves filled with books. Of course she plays, throws, rambled on the books but there’s no price in the  gleam in her eyes.
  • Be an Example. -There’s no better way to teach your child good habits than from the way you yourself show. Maybe you’re not a book lover, or you find books boring. But doing this with her won’t let you become a bad parent either. Based on my experience, Whatever works best for you, investing on reading is never wasted.

 

Hope you have wonderful time spent reading  with your kids. Looking forward to hear your own success stories!

Note to myself: I will do a follow-up post on this matter to share with you how is it with my daughter and her road to loving books? Will she love it? or will she hate it? So for those of you whose following my Blog, and the stories I am writing about “Raising Natalie”, stay tuned for the upcoming updates!

Thank you  all for reading!

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