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For the first few weeks, newborn babies can only see in black and white. Also, they can only focus on images or items that are about 20 centimeters away. Young babies see shapes by following the hard edges where light and dark meet.
Stimulate their interest with high contrast images in black and white - you might find some good ones to download from the internet. Choose simple block-like shapes and hold them up for your baby at the right distance for their eyes. Any high contrast face shapes - like the smiley face or panda face above - are especially good.
Your baby will only be able to see colours - red first - from around 4 months of age.
Sharing stories play an important role in a child’s development. They not only help children learn language and reading skills but they also have an emotional quality which can help children make sense of their feelings. Reading to babies and young children, and giving them time to respond, will help make the most of this opportunity. Recognising shapes will help your child to learn to read later on.
The most important thing is that reading is fun and enjoyable for both of you – five minutes can be enough. Just turn off the TV and find a quiet place so there are no distractions. And remember stories are not just found in books, it’s just as good to tell your child short, simple stories you know.
Remember, you’re not teaching your child to read. You learn to talk a long time before you learn to read, and sharing stories and giving your child time to respond is a wonderful way to help your child’s language development.
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