Reading books to infants, and how I adapt the experience for them.

 

BOOK TIPS FOR THE YOUNGER INFANT (non-crawling to 18 months)

Infants, both immobile (can’t yet move their body around a space independently) and mobile (army crawling, crawling, cruising, and walking) LOVE to have books read to them.  Not all parents, and not even me before I discovered the world of Montessori education, realized that you can read books to infants.

Below are some tips I have gained after working in the nido (Montessori infant program) for a while as an assistant and for a few months as a guide before my job asked me to take over their toddler classroom.

~ Babies will mouthe books, and pull on books.  It’s part of being a baby.Indestructables and board books are ideal for infants. So are the cloth books that have various textures and tags.  Paper books and infants just don’t mix.  So don’t waste your energy trying to segregate out books that the baby can’t touch or mouthe.  Infants learn through their mouths at first, and are working on grasping and grabbing, with poor to nonexistent controlled release.  Just be grateful that books are replaceable.

~Young babies looooove sound-based books.  The book Peek-A-Who by Nina Laden is GOLD for a baby/ the nido.  The crazier your sounds can be, the more they will love it.  My voice is not terribly good at wacky sounds.  I struggle to roar like a lion. But I can do a sweet elephant trumpet sound!

~Singing a book, versus just reading it, is magical. Brown Bear by Eric Carle, or Polar Bear are always a hit.  If you sing  the book to the melody of “Daddy Finger”,  or twinkle twinkle little star, and you will have a baby cult following in your nido and a book that can captivate and soothe, no joke, an entire room of crying infants.   (I know you hate me now for putting that link in this post! lol).

~An immobile infant on their back, or sitting with you, still loves to look at books.  Books with black and white contrast and real photographs are wonderful for very young infants, who also love to look at books.    Showing an individual crying baby a book can soothe them.

~ If mobile babies (crawling, cruising, walking) have independent access to the books in your nido or at home, never put out more than 3 books total.  That’s not a typo.  THREE.  Parents put entire stacks and shelves of books out for children, and that means you have a ton of books that you will be cleaning up after, and a ton of books that need repairing if they get torn or chewed on.

~For the love of god do not try to store/display books for children 18 months and under in one of those tall, slotted bookshelves meant for preschoolers .  That style of bookshelf is a huge no-no for infants, trust me, lol.  Because the babies will just do this: throw all the books behind the bookshelf; try to use the bookshelf to pull to stand; put all of the disks from works and other miscellaneous items into the slots of the bookshelf, or under the bookshelf, that you then have to hunt for.

And worst of all, those poor babies will struggle as they rarely ever learn how to put the book back into the bookshelf slot; which is too thin, and requires that they know how to stand up securely while holding things in their hands; paired with the ability to rotate objects, and amazing hand-eye coordination. Babies have none of those skills. So they can’t ever put the books away successfully–though they have no trouble at all learning how to take all the books out of that terrible bookshelf independently and throwing them all on the floor.  It’s delightfully satisfying for them to do that, actually. Which means a constant mess you adults will constantly be cleaning up.

I’m not gonna give away the training recommendation, but I saw this IKEA spice rack turned baby bookshelf idea on pinterest.  Mount it low on the wall, and voila. Baby bookshelf.

IKEA spice rack turned bookshelf– only put two or three books on the little shelf though! 

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