Q&A Patrons Ask: Do I have to read to my baby?

Is reading to your baby becoming a chore instead a fun activity? Here are some tips to consider to bring the joy back into reading with your baby.

Q: I'ma keep it 100%.  I love my baby, but I really don't want to read to her every night at bedtime. And I don't want to feel pressured and called a bad parent! 

A:  I'm a momma too, so I got you. I'd never call anyone a bad parent. I understand all the well-meaning advice about what you "should be" doing with your children and how to "do it right" is unwelcome and unnecessary.  That's why I'm not gonna add to it – much. 

Reading to your baby is very important, we all know that. So as a professional I can't say “don’t read to your child."  But I will say, reading is supposed to be a fun way to bond with your child. In short, your baby needs words, not a nightly ritual you dread. So if you don't want to read tonight don't stress about it; sing to her. If you don't want to sing, play with her. If you don't want to play, talk to her.  Talking, reading, and singing are all equally important for your child's language and vocabulary development. But I am a children's librarian, and I promote reading to children, so you know I can't let this post be published without at least one book recommendation right?  I'll recommend my oldest son's favorite book: 

I love read this story because it's short; and gives me encouraging words when I am tired and reading to my boys feels like one more chore to complete.  I hope you find the words encouraging as well.

Read To Your Bunny, written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells

Photographs of families in the Eastmont Branch, and a few shameless photos of my own family.

Read to your bunny often

It's 20 minutes of fun

 

It's 20 minutes of moonlight

It's 20 minutes of sun

It's 20 old favorite minutes

It's 20 minutes brand new

 

Read to your bunny often and

Your bunny will read to you.

I'll admit I don't follow the recommended time of 20 minutes at home.   I don't bother to watch the clock, I just read a story. If the book takes 5 minutes I read for 5 minutes. Some of your babies favorite books will take less than 5 minutes to read aloud.  Don't feel pressured to read for a set amount of time.  And sometimes, when I am really pressed for time, I just put a bunch of books on the floor and let the boys "read" to themselves. (touching books counts)

Hey mom, I get it. I'm busy, you're busy,  who has time sit down and to read to babies? Well if you wait for that perfect television inspired moment with the kids all snuggly in the pajamas in their bed you will never have time to read with them. So look for unconventional moments to read to your baby.  For example: when my boys where younger I'd read to them while they played in the bathtub. Multitasking at its finest!

Now, I read paperback romance novels out loud to my one year old and library textbooks to my cat (fur babies count right?)

Why?  My baby doesn't care what I read to him. As long as I am engaging with him he's happy; and I need adult level reading in my life!  A bonus, he falls asleep on my lap while I am reading him a story I enjoy.

So relax and have fun with your baby as you talk, read, play and sing to her. Don't stress over what you "should be" doing, and please don't feel pressured to "do it right." As they say "just do you Boo."  You and your baby will be just fine. BTW: I think you are an awesome parent!  

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