Why reading to babies is so important
Babies love books. They love the chance to snuggle in your arms and hear your voice as you read. What’s more, reading helps them learn language—and more.
Babies are hungry for the information in the pictures, and the sound of the words. While their language and communication skills are growing and they are learning about the world, you are strengthening your bond with them. Everyone wins, especially if the books are chosen carefully.
Not every board book is a quality book for babies. It takes more than printing a children's book on thick cardboard to be appropriate for these new learners. The words and pictures need to be geared towards their developmental stage. Language should be composed of simple words and concepts: Rhymes, repetition and short sentences all capture a baby’s attention. Bright, colorful pictures will capture their gaze. They love both familiar subjects, like the babies in Gyo Fujikawa’s Babies, and ones they haven’t yet met—like the zoo animals in Goodnight Gorilla.
It’s also important for it to be a book that adults like to read, because babies prefer to hear the same story over, and over, and over again. Choose wisely! Here are some both babies and adults we know have enjoyed. If you aren't familiar with them all, check them out and let us know which ones you'll be adding to your grandbaby's collection!
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. Thank you for helping to keep this site ad-free.
Books are a powerful way to build bonds, but there's more to it than just sharing your favorites.
Reading is one of the main ways I connect with my grandchildren. They sit enthralled through as many stories as I’m willing to read. As someone who loves books unreservedly, I’m usually good for at least three or four a day via FaceTime, or more if we are together. We’ve got a pretty extensive library at home, which keeps things fresh. (Not that it matters—I could read the same book 10 times over and the two-year-old would still say, “Read it again!” when I was through.)
Lately, I’ve been choosing the books more thoughtfully. Instead of just choosing a few favorites, I find three or four with a common element, and ask the four-year-old to guess what that element is. One day I read Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk followed by McDuff and the Baby. My grandson quickly guessed that the theme of the day was dogs. I pushed him a little further by asking him what he thought I might read next. He thought a moment and then shouted “Go Dog Go!” He was right. Another day it was Green Eggs and Ham followed by I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. This was a little more abstract, but he still guessed correctly that we were reading books about eating. We followed up with The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza.
I love this opportunity to use books to help them develop early critical thinking skills and to learn to make connections. As they get older, books will be a bridge for far more. Through the books we read, we can share our values, teach them about the culture of their ancestors and introduce them to new interests. By engaging our grandchildren through reading, we can spark their curiosity and learn more about each other.
Along the way, we are deepening the bonds we have with them. Reading is a powerful way to connect.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Every penny helps keep this site ad-free. Thank you for your support!
Talk to Santa: A Virtual Santa Visit for 2020
Here’s another thing that will be different during Covid holidays: no visits to sit on Santa’s lap.
Luckily, there’s a fabulous option for families: virtual Santa visits. Family and friends from up to four locations anywhere in the world can join you and Santa for a live video call. Especially for long-distance grandparents, this is one quarantine consequence that may become a new holiday tradition!
Talk to Santa has been offering Santa visits online since 2014, and they offer the best option for Santa visits during Covid. Because I believe it’s a great gift from grandparents to the whole family, I’ve partnered with them to offer virtual Santa visits to your home. Not sure you can coordinate a virtual Santa visit with your grandchildren? You can also order a personalized recorded Santa video for your family. Use code MORETHANGRAND to save 10% on your entire order.
If you are looking for Santa visit ideas in 2020, Talk to Santa is your answer! Visit their website and book an online visit with Santa for your grandkids today.
This post contains affiliate links to products I have personally chosen to share. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Every penny helps support this site and keep it free of ads. Thank you for your support!
Show your family how important they are
Drive-by baby showers. Virtual Passover Seders. Birthday parades. Halloween scavenger hunts.
We’ve gotten creative about celebrating holidays safely this year. But our biggest holiday challenges lie ahead, and it’s time for grandparents to make a plan for them.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah celebrations center on the time we spend with the people we care most about. They are important holidays for making memories and sharing traditions. If you’ve always gathered for Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house, it’s hard to imagine the holiday meal anywhere else, or without everyone at the table.
Like most military families, my family and I have had our fair share of holidays far from extended family. I’ve had Christmas dinners on an airplane, in a Chinese restaurant in Rome, and with only a sick child as my companion. These years stand out not because they were sad or lonely meals, but because we found ways to celebrate even when we had to deviate from tradition.
This year, we all need put science over tradition, adjust our expectations, and find new ways to celebrate with—or without—the ones we love.
The expectations are the biggest hurdle for many of us. The human brain is a champion of justifying what it wants to do, even if science, common sense and its best friend are telling them it’s a bad idea. So if you really want to have everyone home for Thanksgiving, you can easily convince yourself that it’s not that risky because everyone has been “really careful” and you’ll keep the can of Lysol handy.
Unfortunately, the science we’ve accumulated on Covid tells us there is no way to share a meal inside safely, so if anyone is carrying the virus, everyone is at risk. If we truly feel that nothing is more important than our families, then we need to do everything we can to keep them safe. It’s up to us as grandparents to safeguard the health of ourselves, our parents, our children and our grandchildren. And this year, for many of us, that means not gathering them around our table.
Now is the time to talk to your families. If you are lucky enough to already be in a bubble with your family, keep your celebrations to just that bubble. Let other family members know that you won’t be visiting, and that you realize it’s safer if they celebrate without you. Share your recipes, share your memories, share what you are thankful for—but don’t risk sharing this virus.