When Should You Start Reading to Your Baby?

Cute asian toddler being read to by her young mother

You’re probably already aware that it’s important to start reading to your child and that the earlier you start the better!

But you may have questions on exactly when you should start doing this (especially since they don’t understand what you’re saying yet).

Although it may seem like they’re too young to enjoy being read to, babies actually begin learning the most in their early years.

Besides building their literacy skills, reading also gives you an opportunity to bond and spend some quality time with your little one!

Read on to find out when you should start reading to your baby and how you can encourage a lifelong love of reading in your child.

Why is reading good for your baby?

Close up of little baby while the baby learning to read

As you read to your baby, you’re creating a connection and building on their language, social, emotional and literacy skills.

It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t understand what is being read -- they’re observing your gestures, listening to your tone of voice and picking up on expressions that you use.

As you read, pointing out different objects in the book and associating them to things your little one is familiar with in real life can help improve their comprehension. When you incorporate this into your daily routine, you’ll be surprised by how quickly they begin to understand and associate words with objects in everyday life!

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to read a new book to your baby each time. In fact, repetition is better for them, as it reinforces the words, sounds and gestures to your child.

How to read to your baby

books and toy on a background of clouds and sky
  • Ensure that your baby is resting in a comfortable position before you start storytime. Some parents enjoy holding their baby in their arms as this creates a more intimate atmosphere.

  • Read slowly and clearly while varying your tone. Observe your baby’s face and watch their reactions and facial expressions as you read to them. This will help you determine what they’re interested in. They can’t talk yet, but their nonverbal cues will give you an insight into their likes and dislikes.

  • Let your baby touch and even help flip the pages. You can also let your child play with the book. By being able to touch and look at the pictures on each page, they’ll learn to enjoy storytime and see it as a fun activity. more intimate atmosphere.

  • Incorporate it into your daily routine and set aside a good hour to read to them every day. Make this a consistent part of their day and so your child can pick up on this and make reading a habit of their own. more intimate atmosphere.

  • Be patient and stop reading if your baby falls asleep or shows signs of crankiness.

  • Use age-appropriate books so that your child will feel more engaged with the stories, textures, pictures and colours of the book.

  • It’s good to leave books where your baby can reach them so they have a chance to explore them during their own playtime. You might just be surprised by the books they reach for!

Build your child’s love for reading with Hatchery

girl reading a picture book to her mother

Reading is one of the most important activities for baby development.

It supports the development of literacy, comprehension and communication skills. Plus it’s a great way to introduce your child to real-world topics too!

If you’re looking for some baby books to start with, we have a collection of titles that we’ve curated from Jellycat. These animal-themed books even come with different textures for your little one to explore as you read together!

Visit our online baby store to shop or book a visit to our showroom today to browse our titles or check out any other baby essentials you might need for your child.