There are many things to consider when welcoming a newborn into the world. Health concerns are obvious, as are financial concerns when it comes to providing for your new baby, but parents should also consider getting a head start on their child’s education. Babies are little sponges, and while they may not understand the things that are going on around them, they certainly absorb them. Getting your child started out on a path of understanding is something very important that all parents should deliberate about. Fortunately, books are a wonderful starting point when it comes to expanding your child’s horizons and there are tons of books out on the market that are geared specifically toward babies and toddlers. Here are some baby book suggestions that you might find helpful.
First and foremost, the number one thing to consider when purchasing a book for a young child is to gauge whether or not it will be stimulating. As children grow, their senses become heightened and any attempt at educating a child should be tailored to their sensory perceptions. Books with bright colors, sound mechanisms, and textural elements are always bonuses. These baby book suggestions are good to start out with when interacting with your child.
Beginning with the sense of sight, there are a few things to consider. One, is the book vibrant, bright, and colorful? Even sharp contrasts in black and white can be extremely visually stimulating to young children. Second, does the book have large print with words that are easily within your youngster’s vocabulary? Obviously, monosyllabic words are a must when introducing young children to reading material. Beginning with anything more than one syllable will surely frustrate your child, so keep it simple. Lastly, does the book have large, demonstrative illustrations geared toward the age group you are buying for? Illustrated books and picture books make the reading experience more fun and engaging for young children and should always be considered.
The classic “Golden Book” collection contains all of these elements wrapped up in classic fable style story telling. The books are lightweight, portable (fitting in diaper bags may be a concern for you) and have been used as a bonding tool between parent and child for generations. Classic characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear, Curious George, and the whole field of Dr. Seuss characters are popular for a reason: they engage children with their simple, silly storytelling.
In the realm of textural books, Pat the Bunny has to be considered by most parents and enthusiastic readers to be the cream of the crop. The book features an interactive touch element that will hold the child’s attention and have them coming back for more. The soft fur of the bunny not only allows you to guide your child’s decision making skills but also creates a fun and interesting experience for baby. Several other ‘touch and feel’ books exist in the same vein as Pat the Bunny such as Animals, Peek-a-boo Farm, and That’s Not My Puppy. These are especially great for very young children who have yet to grasp the concept of word formation, as they allows them to be an active part of the reading experience.
There are many books that have flaps or ‘lift ups’ available for children. These books help a child with their methods of discovery and teach them not to be afraid of surprise. The premise of these books is simple: during the story telling, the passages direct both yourself and your child to animate the story yourself by lifting tabs placed in the book to reveal clues or information about the story. Several fairytales are available in this genre such as Cinderella, the Three Little Pigs, and The Little Red Hen. Another type of book to consider in this genre is a pop-up book, which works similarly to the flip up book. These types of books only require the readers to turn the page to illustrate the story through three-dimensional illustrations that pop-up (wondering where the name came from?) throughout the book. There are several Dr. Seuss books that feature this, as well as basic geography and biology books for older children.
Books that feature sound mechanisms are not very common, but they are out there! These books feature buttons that correspond with picture icons in the book. When you or the child sees the icon, they press the corresponding button to add to the reading experience. It’s sort of like taking the moving picture out the movie and adds an interesting element for your child’s entertainment. Hear & There Books and Busy Sounds are two companies that seem to have the corner on this market. Several titles exist that are perfectly suited for young infants and toddlers such as Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?, Sounds on the Farm, and Simple First Words. The last of these is absolutely perfect for when your child is on the cusp of speaking their first words and can act as a great guide to get them speaking!
Let us not forget the classic fairy tales that generations grew up on. There is a reason these stories are classic: their moral lessons never go out of style. Books such as The Princess and the Pea, Goldilocks and Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and anything from the world of Aesop’s Fables are guaranteed to be a big hit with your little one and you’ll enjoy them too as they may just remind you of your childhood.
Last, but not least, is the realm of pop culture children’s literature. Let’s face it, there is a slew of television directed specifically toward children, but parents often times get tired of the loud noises and over-energetic actors. But fear not, there are plenty of quieter options that still involve the characters your children adore. Look for books branded by Disney if your child is a fan of Mickey Mouse or look for Nickelodeon branded books if your child loves Dora The Explorer. There are a plethora of options available as these characters are in high demand.
Overall, the key to making reading an enjoyable experience for both yourself and your child is to make sure that it is a bonding experience. Reading books to children is often times one of the first memories your child will come to cherish, so whatever reading material you choose will be fine, as long as you’re there to read it with your child and help to bring it alive by including your child in the experience.