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Are you a new parent or parent-to-be? If you are exploring ways to share bonding moments with your child, try creating a reading nook—a special place you can relax and get comfortable with your child and a good book.
You can start acquiring a small collection of picture books and create a mini library for your child. Find a nice quiet, well-lit spot in your home. You can decorate it with throw pillows and a comfy rug to rest on, and you are set!
The benefits of reading
Studies have shown that reading helps build exposure, speech and language skills and creates opportunities for parents to discuss topics with their children. You can laugh about funny stories together or watch them react to stories that pull at their heartstrings. Whatever the genre, these tales create golden opportunities. You can engage your children in thought processes that develop and hone their attitude about life.
An early start
Even at the pregnancy stage, you can start reading, singing and talking to your baby. Studies have proven that reading to infants as young as six months of age leads to stronger vocabulary and better early literacy skills.
Reading books from fairy tales to non-fiction helps to open a world of knowledge and foresight to them. Books can help enhance their creativity and imagination and broaden their worldview.
Tips on getting started
If you set a time to read to your child daily, they will get used to the routine and look forward to hearing you read to them. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Choose books with colourful pictures. You can point to the images while you read to them. You don’t have to read word for word either. If you come across a picture or word of interest, you can talk about the meaning and things happening in the illustrations.
Use cloth or cardboard books that your child can hold onto. When a child is very young, they often chew books. So books made from paper may end up being destroyed. Cloth or cardboard is more durable. Let them hold onto the book so they can turn the pages and enjoy the story. This also teaches them the concept of reading from left to right.
Choose books with exciting actions or examples to which you can point and ask questions. If it is a cat, you could ask, “What sound does a cat make?”
Let them choose the books they want to read. Children love hearing stories over and over. It also helps reinforce learning new words.
Reading the Bible is an incredibly wonderful way to develop their values and love of Scripture, plus create a special bond with you as a parent. The Bible, for example, offers many illustrations of how to love one another, and these stories are a great way to help children understand God’s love for them.
Here are some of the top children’s Bible stories you can begin with:
Creation (Genesis 1-2). A great way to start is from the very beginning. Every child should understand how humans and the universe were created.
Adam & Eve (Genesis 2-3) teaches about honesty and that although God is not seen, He sees everyone and knows our hearts.
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10) teaches kindness, empathy and compassion. The Good Samaritan helps an injured person by caring for him while others are in too much of a hurry to assist.
Noah (Genesis 6-9) is a great example of patience as it took a long time to build the ark and for the flood to end. Noah provides an example of faith as well. The fact that this story features animals and a big boat makes it an attention grabber for young children.
The Birth of Jesus (Matthew 1 and Luke 2) is a well-loved classic pivotal in understanding the Christian faith and connects the Old and the New Testament to each other.
Jesus’ Resurrection (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20) is the reason to believe. Having fulfilled what God said would happen, Jesus lived and left us with the Great Commission to be witnesses for Him.
Remember to have fun!
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is just to have fun and allow them to see you enjoy books. You are their best example, and if you make the process fun, they will look forward to having their very special place to go to. Before long, they will be reading back to you, and you can enjoy watching their curiosity sparkle.