The FTC requires me to tell you that I am compensated as a Brand Ambassador for Arkansas Better Beginnings. As a Brand Ambassador I do receive payment for being part of their program, visit this but most of all, I receive the information I need as a “new again mother” to give our little angel the best chance to get her on her way to being all she was created to be.
Our home was recently opened up as an approved foster home. We are preparing for a newborn, and I’ve been in full nesting mode this past week — even trying to teach myself how to sew. (I succeeded in making curtains, as well as a pair of pajama pants for my five year old, Maya.) One of my most treasured items that I put in the nursery is a little Peanuts art piece that was mine as a child. Snoopy was (and still is) my favorite cartoon character.
As I was sorting through baby things, I came across some of Maya’s baby items: a newborn onesie, a doll, and books that I remember reading to her over and over. Two of my favorites were Whose Toes Are Those? and Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim. I read them to her so often that I had them memorized. The books were a gift from a dear friend, Treopia. Since I was a single white woman raising an African-American daughter by myself at the time (this was before I met my husband), Treopia wanted to ensure I had books for Maya that illustrated people that look like her. That started a wonderful library of children’s books full of diversity for my daughter.
One thing I have learned from Arkansas Better Beginnings is that reading to your baby (even a newborn) aids in the child’s language development. Babies whose parents frequently talk to them know 300 more words by age two than babies whose parents rarely speak to them.
Some of the tips that I picked up from the Better Beginnings website include:
1. Talk about what’s going on. Whether I’m changing a diaper, bathing my baby, or taking a walk, I should use words that describe the actions and the things around my baby. This will help her develop vocabulary before she can even talk.
2. Sing songs and nursery rhymes over and over. My baby will find the sound of my voice calming and enjoy the playful rhythms of the music (even if it’s off key).
3. Babies babble. It’s how they learn to make sounds with their own voices. I can repeat these sounds and turn them into real words. This will help my baby recognize which sounds form language.
4. Read to baby. I can make storytime a part of my baby’s routine, such as before naps and at bedtime. Even just talking about some of the pictures is enjoyable for young babies.
Soon I will have a newborn at home and reading Whose Toes Are Those? to her just like I did with Maya. It’s reassuring to know that as I’m reading to her, she will be learning and developing a love for books and words too.
For more tips to boost your baby’s language development and other helpful tools for parents, visit the Resource Library at the Arkansas Better Beginnings website. Don’t miss the checklist to help you choose a quality child care facility for your child. Save it for later, pass it on to a friend, or both. You will be glad you did.