Reading supports emotional development
Make reading a part of your daily routine.
You’ve heard about the importance of social-emotional development in the first years. But what does that actually look like in the day to day?
Social-emotional development includes your child’s experience, expression, and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others.
When you read books, lots of things are happening. For one, usually your child is in your lap or snuggled up beside you. This gentle interaction, repeated often, will build a sense of safety and security. They have your full attention, which is what they crave.
And when you read at the same time each day, the predictability of routine also provides a sense of safety because your child will know what to expect next. We all like that!
Another thing is many children’s books address the expression and management of emotions. Reading stories (over and over!) allows your child to slowly understand how the emotions they feel are the same as the characters.
Take a listen as I talk about the benefits of reading to your child.
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How reading supports emotional development:
- The back and forth interactions that happen between you and your child as your read to them supports strong attachment.
- As you read, you use voice inflection. You emphasize certain words, read with a song-song voice and differing volumes. Your baby is listening carefully will begin to imitate you. You’ll imitate back. And connection happens.
- When grandparents come over, they can read to your child and they’ll both LOVE the chance to connect over reading. I can vouch for this one! I love reading books to our grandkids when we go visit. It’s such a special time.
- If your brand new to parenting, you may feel unsure how to go about reading a book to a baby that’s so young they can’t talk yet. But that’s when you need to start!
- Pull out some books and show them to your baby. Point to pictures, name the objects, watch their eyes and see what catches their attention. Talk to them about the book.