Reading to children has been common for hundreds of years, but it’s much more than the sleep time exercise that many people take it for. In short, reading helps to develop cognitive pathways in your baby, helping their brain grow healthily, as well as the opportunity to develop bonds with your baby. How does this happen, you might ask? Research in neuroscience has conclusively found that reading to babies stimulates synapses in their brains that are related to learning and similar cognitive and emotional functions. In this article, we explore in-depth how reading is so effective for babies.
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How reading creates neural pathways in your baby
How such a simple thing as a book can develop a baby’s mind is an amazing thing – even if you don’t have a child of your own, it’s a great idea to buy one for a friend with a newborn or include one in a baby gift hamper to ensure your friend’s baby is off to a great start! Brain development in infants is a fascinating thing –the brain physically doubles in size in the first year of a baby’s life and synapses are formed faster during these important years than at any other time in a person’s life. Because the synapses in a baby’s brain are strengthened by repeated use through environmental inputs such as seeing, hearing, smelling and touching, it would make sense to develop this in a few specific, positive directions. For example, limiting input can have a detrimental effect on the development of the synapses because there is nothing to process, so the baby’s brain has no need to respond. By this token, reading, which provides a variety of highly stimulating inputs, creates allows for healthy development due to an understood need to adapt. This will lead to better learning, memory, and other highly beneficial cognitive abilities.
Reading means bonding
In addition to building your baby’s neural pathways, reading is an amazing way to forge connections with your child. It is during these early months that bonds are formed, and your baby’s brain is quick to respond to the highly reassuring sound of your voice. It won’t take long for your baby’s brain to release oxytocin – known by many as the chemical of love – in direct response to hearing your voice, which it will quickly associate with happiness. Because your voice is associated with happiness and calmness, reading to your child provides it with a liberal heaping of love! This feeling of being loved then leads to good emotional and mental health in the long-term. This positive mental health is also related to the way that reading allows babies to develop a much better grasp of language, as reading provides a baby with a huge variety of sounds, whether they be alternating patterns of speech or simply new sounds from the pronunciation of different words.
It’s time to start reading to your baby!
It should be very clear by now that reading to your baby a few minutes every day can have very positive results, both in the short and long-term. Not only will your baby develop much better communication skills and mental development, but it will be able to emotionally develop as well. Plus, let’s not forget that this is quality time spent between parent and baby, which is one of the most special things you can experience.[simple-author-box]