My mom always talks about how little she read to my younger brother. And how much that affected his interest in academics.
She then goes on to reminiscent how much reading she did with me, the firstborn. She believes my interest in writing and languages was nurtured by all the books I read as a baby.
I don’t know if she’s right. What I’m learning as a parent though, is that every child is different, and each child develops interest in different things at different speeds. That in writing seems silly as it should be very obvious.
Yet, I can’t remember how many people have told me to make sure I read to the baby everyday because reading would be super duper good for him. Reading books to a baby is the thing you must do or he would end up being stupid. One source even informed me that reading newspapers to the unborn child had helped him become successful in school later. Hmmmmmm.
Being a first time mom full of worries and nervousness, I kept feeling this overwhelming pressure to read to my child daily. I simply couldn’t figure out exactly when to read books however. There was always so much to do and I didn’t have the capacity to spare the time to read anything that had more than 3 sentences per page.
Also, the kid has never needed much help going to sleep at night. We put him down in the crib and he would just go to sleep. So what I see in movies, on TV or basically everywhere else; a child begging the parent to read a book or two for them before going to sleep, doesn’t happen here.
This doesn’t mean that I never read to him at bedtime. He used to love Goodnight Moon. I never understood the creepy pictures in that book, but he enjoyed it so much, I memorized it. I would hold the book up for him to see while reciting it. I would even recite the book in darkness.
I felt bad that I wasn’t reading him books everyday. I constantly thought I was ruining his brain. The mom who doesn’t read to her child is a bad mom…
The few hours I spend with him at home on a week day is spent feeding him, clothing him, cleaning him, keeping him occupied while doing chores, and playing the bunny character in the dance party or playing a horse or playing a wizard referee in basketball games. And after all those things happen, he’s ready to sleep. Where do I squeeze the reading time?
At certain age, he was more able to sit long enough for a short book. Then he started liking repeats. We would read Thomas books, Seuss, books in Japanese, books about colors, shapes and numbers. Sometimes twice, three times in a row. Long stories are too long, but the short ones become looong for mom when repeated over and over.
Now he even pretends to read them on his own, just like I used to. He seems to like books even though I didn’t read to him most of the time. I’m not even a book reader myself. Once I was stressing so much over the possibility of ruining his brain, now I’m starting to think it could just be the individual interest.
Yes, books are full of inspiration, information and imagination. But I’m sure some babies prefer moving visuals over turning pages up until certain age. Discovery of books might come early for some, and later for some. My kid might keep picking up books for a while or he might find kicking a ball outside more exciting, or both.
I had noticed early on that he seemed interested in numbers. He learned 0-12 fairly quickly, so I just kept adding more, 0-20, 0-30. We have counted up to 100 at this point, so I decided to start addition. I don’t consider myself a tiger mom but as long as he’s excited about learning more, I would like to keep providing the opportunity to do so.
Because he was interested in numbers, I quickly thought maybe he was the math/ science type. Well, he seems equally interested in letters and words. What does this mean??
It probably doesn’t mean anything, at least in the way I thought a person developed. There are many different interests, especially in a small person whose brain is developing at the lightning speed. We as parents are to provide as much information as we can so the kid can pick and choose. I don’t think we necessarily have to guide and lead, just yet.
Unless, you absolutely believe that your kid will be happy and successful in the future if he became a football player. (I may have to shove a sidewalk chalk in someone’s mouth if I hear “Ooh, you should have him play football or basketball!” one more time.) Talk about ruining a brain…
My brother who said he wanted to be a scientist at 5 years old, has become a successful chef and speaks two languages. Maybe my mom should stop talking about him and books.