As a writer, I think it’s a requirement to also love books. The way they take you away to another place, the way they make you realize things about your life you never thought of, the multitude of emotions they can evoke.
I’ve loved books since I was little. My parents are voracious readers, and this obsession was passed on to me. My husband spends a lot of time reading–he stays up late reading my Kindle long after I’ve gone to sleep. So with two huge book enthusiasts, I always hoped our children would be, too.
Anson, our 19-month-old, LOVES books. Sometimes he’ll choose perusing new books over playing. He attends Mothers’ Day Out two days a week, and yesterday when I brought him, he made a beeline for the new set of bookshelves the teacher had. He picked out a book on trucks and sat in the little chair next to the books, totally content. It completely melted my heart!!
How did he become such a dedicated bibliophile? I think it’s probably a combination of genes, personality, and pretty much forcing books on him at a young age. Now that I have a four-month-old, too, I’m having to start the process over again to raise another reader.
Here are a few of the things I’ve found to be effective in increasing a baby’s interest in books:
- Read to them–even the thriller you’re reading. They’ll quickly become addicted to hearing your voice.
- Make soft books a favorite toy by taking them along with your baby everywhere–the car, church, the doctor’s office, etc.
- Books with lots of tactile features–pop-ups or touch & feel books are always a favorite for a curious baby.
- Once your baby or toddler grows older and starts showing a preference for certain things or characters (cars, Mickey Mouse, dogs, animals, etc)–buy books featuring those things. Anson loves pointing out the “doggies” in his books, or reading about “vroom-vrooms” (cars).
- Look-and-find books are also great. Anson has a few that he just loves. Before he was talking as much as he is now, he would point out objects as we said them–awesome learning tool, and they really just enjoy looking at all the pictures!
- Make it a part of their night-time routine early. Anson’s routine is: bath, brush his teeth, snuggle up to read a book (or five…or the same one five times), prayers, bed
Don’t worry. There’s another bookcase to fill after this one!
- Basically, push books on them any chance you get! Make them available to them from the very beginning by having low bookshelves in their rooms so they have easy access. Anson’s favorite game for the longest time was pulling every single book off the shelves and throwing them on the floor. Books are his toys, and he loves them as much as his little basketball hoop.
Any other tips?