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Face to Face time with your baby is the most important thing you can do from the beginning. Babies are born with a preference for human faces, and yours is the one they see the most.
Make eye contact as you feed, dress, or play with your baby. See if you can organise a buggy that faces you, rather than faces out. Talk to your baby about what you are doing, or sing rhymes to them.
As your baby grows older they will make verbal sounds. If you respond verbally this will encourage your baby. These types of "conversations", both with your facial expressions and verbally, are very important for a baby's emotional development.
If you would like to find out more about the science behind what your baby sees in its first few weeks, and how important your face is to them, have a look at this youtube video.
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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