One of the best things you can do for your youngest infant is read to her. In addition to helping with her language development, this can instill a love for books that can last a whole lifetime. There are many wonderful children’s books out there — some of our favorite authors include Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, and Sandra Boynton. Many children’s books incorporate rhyming and have a certain rhythm to the words, which infants love to hear! Choose books with simple pictures for your youngest infants, and books with more complex pictures and words for older children. When your child is a little older, like L, you will find that she will want you to read the same book over and over and over again. One of the books L loves to read is Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. Since she now knows the story so well, I have started leaving out some words as I read, which she fills in by memory. For example, the last page in the book reads, “And it was still hot.” I say, “And it was still…” and L yells, “Hot!” This is a great early literacy skill to begin with your toddler.
You can also sing to your young infant — any song you know! Many children’s songs incorporate body parts or movements into them, which introduce your child to the names of things. However, your baby loves just hearing your voice, so you could sing anything to her and she will stare at you in awe as if you are the greatest opera singer. Singing grows your bond with your infant at the same time as introducing vocabulary, music, and rhythm.