So, you’re convinced: reading to your soon-to-be-born baby is a very good idea. But you still have some questions. Well, you’ve come to the right place—here are some answers to the questions we hear most.

When do I start? You can begin reading to your child in utero at any time during your pregnancy, but the research shows that the baby’s hearing and memory are more developed in the last trimester.

How do I begin? First establish a time of day,  20 minutes or so, that will be devoted to sharing this special time with your baby. Remember, you’re making a commitment to read to your child now and for many years in the future, so choose a time of day that will feel right over the long term.

Where should I read? Find a quiet and comfortable spot in your home where you can snuggle up with a book, maybe a cup of tea and a warm blanket. This time should be as calming and soothing for you as it will be for your child. Pick a place where you won’t be interrupted—this will become a sacred spot for you and your baby.

What should I read? The evidence shows that anything rhythmic and rhyming is best—babies will remember such sounds if they’re read regularly and repeatedly. You don’t need to speak more loudly than usual; the baby has prime seating and the acoustics are excellent!

Some fun rhyming selections for adults and babies are Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and Jack Prelutsky’s Something Big Has Been Here and A Pizza the Size of the Sun. Anything by Dr. Seuss will do the trick, and his widow, Tish Rabe, wrote a book especially to read to babies in utero called Oh Baby, the Places You’ll Go! What matters most is that the story is rhythmic and repetitive, and that it is read regularly.

I had my baby—now what? Once you’ve established your cozy regular reading time during pregnancy, it will be a breeze to continue after your baby is born. Hold your baby close and read the stories you both know so well. You will be amazed to see that your baby is instantly calmed and settled as you read a familiar story, and you will see with your own eyes what all the research has been telling us—that reading to your baby in the womb has a powerful effect on a child’s well-being and development. Daddy, siblings, even grandparents can take part in reading time before and after birth. What a good feeling it will be to have established this loving family routine that will continue for years to come!

For more information check out this link at Livestrong.

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