If you are new to this blog, you might not know yet that I am a new mom in addition to being a Speech Language Pathologist. My son is currently 6 months old and I am always looking for ways to help my son grow with his learning and cognitive development. My training as a speech therapist has taught me that at this stage in his life, reading with a 6 month old and giving him hands-on experiences with books is extremely important. It’s very fun to see my son’s attention and understanding change as he grows older. This got me thinking that this would be a great topic to write about for all of the other new mothers out there. It might feel like you don’t have time, but I am here to tell you just how essential reading with a 6 month old really is for their development. Keep reading to find out 8 quick tips for brain development when reading to your 6 month old:
Picking the Perfect Books
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When reading with a 6 month old, it is very important to choose the best books for that age group. Books should be very simple because limited words and limited pictures help babies to process and focus. Here are some of the best types of books for 6 month olds:
- Touch and feel books
Touch and feel books are especially great when reading with a 6 month old because it gives them exposure to different types of textures. They can “look” for different things on the page and you can also describe the way the textures feel to them. Never Touch a Porcupine and these Touch and Feel: Scholastic Readers are the perfect touch and feel books for babies.
- Books that focus on emotions/ faces
In addition to touch and feel books, books that discuss emotions and have different faces are also great for this age group. You can show the baby the different faces in the book and model the faces in the book for the child as well. In addition to this, to help start developing their language and social emotional skills, something important to do is to label the emotions that your child and others around you show in real life to help your child start generalizing what “happy, sad, mad, etc.” looks like. A wonderful book to read to your 6 month old that focuses on emotions and faces is Baby Faces Peekaboo! I bet we’ve read this one 200 times at our house already!
- Indestructible books
At this age, you need something sturdy like a board book or an indestructible book so that babies cannot tear the paper pages of books. Cardboard pages make it easier for the child to help turn the pages and sturdy enough to carry around the house without damaging the book. The book, Hello, Farm! is a really great book for this indestructible category.
- Felt flap books
Felt flap books are interactive lift-the-flap-books but ones that your baby can actually use because the felt makes it so easy to grab! If your child can grab or drag a hand over the felt, it moves and reveals the pictures! These are so much fun and your child will squeal with joy when they find out what’s under the flap! Check out a favorite book at our house- Where’s the Astronaut?
- Books with mirrors
Babies absolutely LOVE to see themselves! Books with mirrors are great. They don’t get to see themselves often so it is so much fun for them when they do. When they are looking into a mirror, you can have them point to different body parts on their face that they can see to promote language and have them model different emotions, i.e.-”Smile for me! You look so happy!” Some great books with mirrors are Who Says Boo? Baby’s First Halloween Book, Who Am I? Mirror and Me (Baby Einstein Book).
8 Quick Tips for Brain Development When Reading to your 6 Month Old:
- Be animated while you read. Use different voices for characters. Show inflection in your voice.
- Repeat a book often. It is good for them to hear a story over and over because this starts teaching them the skill of prediction.
- Model pointing and touching things that you see in the book.
- Talk about things the child is looking at.
If your baby looks at something that is on the page for a long time like a face – talk about it, “This baby has two eyes, a nose, and ears. You have two eyes, etc.”
- Label vocabulary words in pictures
Focus on nouns and verbs when labeling items in the book.
- Model simple sentences with correct grammar. I like to label the item and then use a simple sentence. “Baby. That baby is sad.”
- Cut it short. Babies have SHORT attention spans. If they are engaged keep going! If your child is upset or starts to lose focus, come back to it later or another day! Try to read for short bits often instead of for a long time right before bed. Attention spans are well under a minute for most 6 month olds, so roll with their moods!
- Leave books out for your baby to pick up and explore on their own
It is good for children to start taking an interest in books at an early age. Leave out a basket of books that your child can explore on his own too in your house! Don’t keep them all up on a shelf out of reach!
Following these 8 quick tips for reading with your 6 month old can help increase their brain development and even language skills at a young age! Reading with my son is one of my absolute favorite things to do!
Does your 6 month old have a favorite book?
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