Children, especially newborn babies, thrive on having a consistent routine. Setting a regular daily schedule helps babies regulate their own body clocks. They are able to know when it’s time to eat, play, and sleep. Thus, they are able to interpret the signals of their own bodies more accurately.
This is why it is very essential to develop a bedtime ritual and to stick to it. If you already have a set routine before your baby’s bedtime, then you’re doing an amazing job!
But to take things to the next level, if your bedtime routine includes reading a bedtime story, then you just might be setting your baby up for success.
Rituals, Routines and Bedtime Stories
Establishing a regular pattern helps your baby understand what is about to do next, as well as what they are expected to do. This means that a consistent bedtime routine, aside from calming your baby down, will remind them that it is time to sleep.
Many bedtime routines look like this: bath time, lotion and massage, cuddle, and feeding. This is a great bedtime ritual, don’t get us wrong. But adding just one element – a bedtime story – will make a huge difference.
You see, reading bedtime stories is impactful, even if you are reading to a newborn baby. You may not exactly see it right away, but reading to your baby now is already making dramatic developments in their brain.
The 7 Benefits of Reading Bedtime Stories to Your Baby
A newborn baby may not know how to talk, much less read and understand books. During the first weeks of their life, they couldn’t even see that clearly yet. But there are some things that we can be certain of.
Upon birth, a baby already has a keen sense of touch and a developing sense of hearing. Most of all, they already know your warmth and your voice. Reading to your baby stimulates these senses and enhances your baby’s knowledge of you, strengthening your bond.
Here are seven more reasons why you should be reading to your baby.
1. Reading bedtime stories helps your baby develop focus and listening skills.
People often say that little children have short attention spans, but don’t underestimate their capacity. Children, even newborn babies, can develop longer attention spans, and reading bedtime stories definitely help. When you read them a bedtime story, try to use animated voices and expressions to entertain your baby and keep them attentive.
2. Reading bedtime stories helps build your baby’s vocabulary.
It is never too early to start building your baby’s vocabulary! By reading bedtime stories, you are helping your baby uncover new words. More than that, they will eventually understand the meaning of these words by recognizing letters, identifying related pictures and imitating the sounds that the words come with.
3. Reading bedtime stories is a great way to introduce new concepts.
Babies absorb information like a sponge, so take advantage of this time to introduce new concepts. These include numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and so many more. If you want to introduce a new concept, you can start by reading a related bedtime story. You may even introduce traditions and holidays like Christmas using relevant stories.
4. Reading bedtime stories enhances your baby’s memory.
Repetition is your friend when it comes to teaching your baby basically anything. And because babies are brilliant learners, they can eventually memorize things – even stories. Enhance this skill by reading the same bedtime stories every night. This may seem tedious and monotonous, but by repeating stories, you are helping your baby develop a sharper memory.
5. Reading bedtime stories helps enrich your baby’s emotional development.
When you read a bedtime story to your baby, they will eventually learn how to relate to the story’s characters. They will feel happy when the character is happy and sad when the character is sad. It may not look much, but reading is actually helping your baby develop emotionally. Because of this, they may grow up to be an empathetic and responsive individual.
6. Reading bedtime stories helps spark your baby’s growing imagination.
You can surround your baby with toys and baby products that aim to spark the imagination. But truthfully, nothing will be more effective than reading them a bedtime story. The pictures inside the story book and your voice and expressions are fodder to their growing curiosity. You may not see it, but their imagination is already soaring!
7. Reading bedtime stories is a good way to relax after a long day.
Finally, a benefit that is applicable to both your baby and you! We know that your day as a new parent is full-packed, and it feels great to de-stress after a long day. Spending time with your baby will calm you. At the same time, your baby will feel cozy and comfortable listening to their parent’s voice. Reading a bedtime story will help get you settled in for a relaxing night ahead.
If you come to think of it, reading a bedtime story has virtually no negative effects. Even if you think it’s still a bit too early, do it anyway. Babies are always learning and taking in new information, so there is no reason why we should not encourage it. With reading, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
But far more crucial than these mental and social benefits is the time you spend with your baby. Simply getting your baby tucked into bed, the two of you cuddling while you read a bedtime story, is building their self-esteem. By simply reading, you are equipping your baby with all the right skills to be a well-rounded person.
If you want to make your baby feel secure and loved, and if you want them to lead a successful life, read them a bedtime story.