In­fants and Tod­dlers Blos­som With Books

The Pilot News - The Review - - News - (c) 2020 Donna Erick­son Dis­trib­uted by King Fea­tures Synd.

Since last May when our first grand­child was born, one of the pri­mary fo­cuses of my at­ten­tion has ad­mit­tedly been on baby Ida. Liv­ing in the same metro area, I have hap­pily zoomed in on her first smiles and en­chant­ing coos and bab­ble.

The joy­ful sounds have de­vel­oped into slightly dis­cern­able first words. Is she say­ing “dada” and “ball”? “Let’s get that con­ver­sa­tion rolling,” I say to my­self. “Be­yond your ju­bi­lant smile or lament when hun­gry, Ida, tell me what you are think­ing and feel­ing.” I know that time is com­ing down the road be­cause even now, when she sits in my lap and we read books, she blos­soms.

Since she was a wee one, we’ve en­joyed re­lax­ing book time with stories that rhyme (we bounce and rock to the rhythm) -- first with the clas­sic touch-and-feel books like “Pat the Bunny,” and soft cloth books, some with crinkly sound­ing pages. Now the chunky board books draw her in with eye-catch­ing ob­jects paired with words on easy-to­turn pages that she ea­gerly flips open and closed.

Talk­ing, singing, rhyming and shar­ing books with ba­bies through­out the day teaches lan­guage and builds a solid back­ground for fu­ture read­ing com­pre­hen­sion. Plus, com­ing from a new grand­mother, the daily prac­tice of read­ing pro­vides plea­sur­able con­nec­tion time and a sweet bond between gen­er­a­tions.

Books in bloom! En­joy a spring that’s full of read­ing with the ba­bies and tod­dlers in your life. Here are some tips:

1. It’s never too early to start read­ing with your child, even dur­ing the first months of life. Your sooth­ing and fa­mil­iar voice sets the tone for a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with books.

2. Read­ing any time of the day is valu­able, but en­cour­ag­ing book time as part of the bed­time rou­tine cre­ates a healthy daily ritual.

3. Don’t be sur­prised when your tod­dlers want you to read the same book over and over as they be­gin to rec­og­nize fa­mil­iar pic­tures and words. Be pa­tient, and thrilled at the same time, as you see them learn!

4. Tak­ing phrases from your child’s fa­vorite books and turn­ing them into short songs, or play­ful and some­times silly rhymes using their name, can be en­joyed in the car or other times when read­ing isn’t pos­si­ble.

5. Start a fam­ily book­shelf within easy reach of your tod­dler. Be on the look­out for books at garage sales and used book­stores this spring, and re­quest book giv­ing for your child’s next birth­day.


Donna Erick­son’s award­win­ning se­ries “Donna’s Day” is air­ing on pub­lic tele­vi­sion na­tion­wide. To find more of her cre­ative fam­ily recipes and ac­tiv­i­ties, visit www. don­nas­ and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Face­book fan page. Her lat­est book is “Donna Erick­son’s Fab­u­lous Fun­stuff for Fam­i­lies.”

Ba­bies en­joy and “blos­som” from book time, any­time.

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