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New Dads! Read to Your Babies!

Michael Ray King
 


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So, your baby is just a few days or weeks old. You're wondering what you can do at this stage to help the little one learn about his/her world. There are a lot of things you can do to bond with your newborn. Touch is one of the key bonding exercises you need to employ. This means you pick your baby up and you hold her. You let her fall asleep on your shoulder or you put her in a Snugli (a pouch-like carrier that you strap around your chest and over your shoulders that holds your baby to your chest), and you complete some simple chores.

In order to maximize your impact with your baby, don't do these things in silence. Talk to your little one. Sing to her. Or, if you are behind on your reading, read to her. Studies show that the more words an infant hears as she grows the better able she is to learn the skills of reading and speech.

Reading is excellent on a number of levels in the intellectual development of a baby. For one thing it teaches your baby the inflections of the language. Don't just read in a monotone voice. Read the exciting parts with proper enthusiasm. Read the questions with a definitive question in your voice. Convey any emotions in the writing. The rhythms of our language fall on your child's ears and is stored in a little brain that is absorbing everything it possibly can.

Another benefit is that the number of words your child hears at an early age relates strongly to speech later on. Singing is good because music transmits emotion. Many men don't feel comfortable doing this, so read. It really doesn't matter what you read, just that you expose your baby to words and the rhythms of language. You can read the paper. She won't get depressed (you might , though . . . ). You can read that sci-fi novel you've been meaning to pick up or a magazine or whatever you're surfing on the net. The most important thing is not to miss out on every opportunity to bond with your baby you can find. If you are holding and carrying your baby around, you are well on your way to bonding well with your child, but remember to read, talk or sing. Engage as many senses as you can while you have your baby's attention.

One important item - don't mistake the yackity-yak of television for a viable alternative. Your baby needs to hear YOUR voice. You want to create a strong bond. There are years coming (teenage) where you will want to have the strongest possible rapport with this child possible. What you do now in these very first years will impact where you stand with your child later. Invest your time wisely and multitask with your baby.

Fathers are often busy and tend to neglect these critical early years. Don't make that mistake. Catch up on your reading and include your baby. You'll both get a lot out of the time.

Michael Ray King http://www.michaelrayking.com

I am father to six wonderful children ages 2, 9, 11, 13, 21 and 26. With four girls and two boys, I've seen, heard and learned a lot. My first book “Fatherhood 101: Bonding Tips for Building Loving Relationships" was published in June 2008. The book covers the critical bonding years from pre-birth to toddler. To get a copy of my book go to http://www.clearviewpressinc.com or look it up on Amazon.com

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