Invest in your baby’s future at the library

by Alicia Rudnicki, Library Mix

Photo from Slough Borough Council, United Kingdom

Financial worries usually abound for new parents who are learning how to juggle work and home. What if you or your spouse is unemployed due to the recession and must cut expenses like crazy? Heaven forbid, what if both of you are unemployed?

The stress, of course, is nearly unbearable at times. However, as you assess your situation day by day, remember that time is a gift too. You may not be able to buy savings bonds for junior’s future or start a college savings account right now, but there are many things you can do with your free time that will greatly improve your baby’s future.

Bonding and building literacy
Why not devote some of this precious time to investing in and bonding with your baby by participating in literacy programs at the library?

At library story times designed specifically for infants and toddlers, parents and caregivers learn stories, songs, and rhymes to share with their children. They also have a chance to socialize.

Regularly reading with your baby is one of the best investments you can make in his or her future.

Why reading to your baby is important
In its April/May 2009 issue of Literacy in the Library, Denver Public Library noted six skills to work on with young readers: learning to love books, gaining new words, telling a story, becoming aware of print everywhere, seeing letters, and making sounds.

According to KidsHealth, which is part of the southeastern U.S. Nemours Foundation, babies learn “all the sounds needed to speak their native language” by the time they are one year old.

Nemours says, “When reading, your child hears you using many different emotions and expressive sounds, which fosters social and emotional development.” It adds that “reading also invites your baby to look, point, touch, and answer questions — all of which promote social development and thinking skills. And your baby improves language skills by imitating sounds, recognizing images, and learning words.”

Nemours notes that reading aloud with your little one “makes a connection between the things your baby loves the most — your voice and closeness to you — and books. Spending time reading to your baby shows that reading is a skill worth learning.”


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