It’s daunting for dads when a new baby arrives – so many men admit to feeling helpless and at a loss of what to do. I say grab a book and start reading to your little one, and you’ll soon find yourself with an important role to play.
Surveys have shown mums read to their babies more frequently than dads, but experts agree that fathers have a really important role when it comes to reading. Not only that, but reading to your little one gives you a really great opportunity to bond with your new baby and establish a love of books from a young age.
Here are six reasons why I think new dads should start reading with their baby…
1. You spend special time bonding with your baby
Having a new baby can be overwhelming and it’s often difficult for dads to know what they can do to help (especially if the baby is breastfed). But why not make reading your thing? Find a comfy seat and snuggle on down with a book or two. Baby will love to hear your voice and you’ll really enjoy seeing them start to respond to the pictures in front of them as they grow. If you need inspiration for what types of books to buy, take a look at my handy blog that outlines the types of books you should buy for your newborn.
2. You give Mum a breather
Being a mum to a newborn is full on, and ridiculously tiring with the relentless barrage of night feeds. Anything dads can do to help is great, but finding something baby-related that doesn’t involve changing or taking out dirty nappies can be hard! This is where books come in – not only are you helping the bonding process with your little person, but you’re giving mum a much needed breather too.
3. You help establish a love of books
Babies who are regularly exposed to books grow into book-loving children. Whilst very young babies will benefit more from hearing your voice than looking at the books themselves, studies show reading can provide developmental benefits for babies as young as three months.
4. It’s a chance to share your own life stories
Books are a great way to introduce your own stories to your children. Many of the topics will remind you of your own life experiences – why not share these with your little people? It’s a lovely way for them to find out more about their daddy, and it will encourage them to ask questions too (when they can talk!). Don’t worry if it feels like a one way street at first – sharing your stories is a good habit to get into, so it’s never too early to start. It will pay off – you’ll see.
5. Dads are better readers
So this is a hard one for me to admit, but studies show men make better readers than women. Why? For the simple fact that men are more likely to relate stories to theirs and their children’s experiences and spark imaginative discussion (mums are more likely to count and point out what they can see in the pictures, apparently).
6. You’re helping your child’s mental and physical development
Reading is one of the most beneficial activities for your child’s development. Not only does sharing a book promote children’s language, literacy and cognitive development, but touching and turning the pages also helps build fine motor skills too.
So Dads, what are you waiting for? Grab a book and get reading with your baby right now!