Do you have questions about early literacy or general parenting? Check out some of our favorite questions and answers below.
Question: Why do I need to read to my child?
Answer: Reading to your child helps with his or her brain development, stimulating the synapses needed for language development. Reading together helps your child learn to form words, builds language skills and grows the brain. You can even read to your baby while he or she is in utero!
Question: At what age should I start reading to my child?
Answer: The earlier the better – start as early as you possibly can. You can read to your child before he or she is born. Read to your child every day. If you can’t read each day, sing a song or make up your own story. As long as you are sharing words with your child, you are building language and literacy skills.
Question: Does it matter what language I use when I read to my child?
Answer: Read to your child in any language. If you speak two languages, you can read to your child in both. Hearing multiple languages encourages your child’s learning development. The earlier you expose a child to multiple languages, the more likely he or she is to pick up and retain those languages.
Question: How do I know my child’s specific needs?
Answer: Knowing what your child needs comes with bonding and attachment. You will learn what your child’s different cries mean, and learn specific cues the more time you spend together. This time spent together lets you learn about your child, but it also helps your child learn about you as a parent.
Question: How should I handle a strong willed child, or a child who only says no?
Answer: Toddlers are finding their way in the world and learning how words work. Around two years old, a child begins to explore and assert his or her independence. He or she has heard the word no over and over again, and it’s natural that he or she wants to try it, too. Give children choices as an alternative to saying no. For example, give a choice between two vegetables you would like your child to eat.
Question: At what age do should I start playing with my child?
Answer: You can start playing with your child right away. Start by spending time with your baby and letting him or her explore your face. As your child grows, add more activities. Get down on your child’s level and explore the world together.
Question: When is it best to start cementing my child’s routines?
Answer: The sooner you can start a routine, the better. Your routine doesn’t have to be a rigid schedule that stays the same each day, but it does provide consistency that lets your child know what to expect. You probably have a routine right now and don’t even realize it. Think about what your child can naturally expect each day. By six months old, a child is learning what to expect in his or her daily environment. As your child gets older, you can add more details, like visual cues, that help him or her understand how that routine works.