It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air – and we mean all kinds of love, including your baby! The first few years with your little one can be as tough as it is rewarding. Those sleepless nights and ringing ears (from all the screaming) can often have parents wondering ‘does my baby really love me?’
Well don’t you worry, we have done some digging, and the answer is a definitive YES! Babies are born to fall in love and can often show signs of emotion in the first few weeks. That’s right, those long gazes, snuggling and that cheeky smile (is not always gas) – it’s love!
Reading is one of the best ways to bond with your baby and teach them to love so BookTrust has pulled together their top tips and best books to teach your baby about love in the first few years.
TIP 1: Bump to baby chat
That’s right, all the hype is true – reading to your bump really is one of the first ways to bond with your baby. Studies have shown that babies are even more soothed by familiar nursery rhymes they heard while in the womb. Books you can read to your baby and soothe them while also being able to treasure them through the rest of their life!
Here We Are, Oliver Jeffers
When I Was A Child, Andy Stanton & David Litchfield
TIP 2: Unleash your inner clown
Even though your baby seems to just be sleeping, feeding and pooping a lot in the first few months, trust us, your little one is already falling head over heels for you! You can tell by eye contact, ‘gurgle conversations’ and because they’re starting to smile back at you! Their sight is starting to develop at this age so your little one loves faces rather than objects. Time to get a little silly and read books that let your little one observe your facial expressions.
Who?, Robie H Harris
Making Faces, Abrams Appleseed
TIP 3: The perfect distractions
Put the jewellery away, tie up the hair (or beard) and fill their tiny hand with sensory toys and books! At the three to seven months mark your baby has finally found their hands and, boy, do they learn to grab quickly. They will be and be fascinated by sensory stimulations, rattling, shaking (baby games). Their sight will also develop to see in colour so bright colourful sensory books are the way to go. We love…
Where’s Mrs Ladybird, Ingela Arrhenius
TIP 4: ‘Let’s get physical’
Between seven and twelve months it’s playtime! Your tiny tot is exploring and learning different emotions. The downside – moodiness, the huge upside – starting give hugs and kisses and maybe even first words! Love is as thick as concrete and there is an extra burst of brain development as attachment bonds are made at this point. Being able to sing songs and use interactive books will help you increase bonds with your bub. We love…
Five Little Ducks, Yu-hsuan Huang
Hug, Jez Alborough
TIP 5: Be nice! You have yourself a copy cat
Has you baby been replaced by a fully-fledged little person running around? Between 12-24 months your tiny tot will be showing lots of different emotions and will pay attention to how you act, mimic your actions and understand symbols and themes. This is also the age your little one will start to socialise more – so make sure you show them how it’s done: how to share, how to be brave, and much more. Researchers have found a direct link between books and emotional growth for this age group. The best books are books that have stories and themes which show affections for those around them. We love…
Love You Hoo, Rachel Bright
Love, Emma Dodd
Learning love through reading and bedtime stories is an incredibly intimate way to bond with your little one and teach them lessons of love that will last a lifetime!
Emily Drabble, BookTrust