Books allow people to immerse themselves in different settings for a short period of time. In the process, they help in the understanding of different perspectives and in gathering new experiences. Here we explain how babies from as young as six months old can discover the world through colourful picture books.
Baby’s first picture book: beautifully colourful and robust
There is plenty for babies to discover in the first year of their lives. The senses of sight and touch are not yet fully formed, and of course the child cannot yet read. Nevertheless, or precisely for these reasons, picture books which stimulate the senses and which use clear shapes and contrasts are recommended.
Important: the picture book should not contain too many images, or the child will not be able to concentrate on one thing. It must also be sturdy enough to withstand constant boisterous treatment.
Please be careful with material that is printed on paper, whether this is a book or loose sheets. Babies can suffer paper cuts to their hands and mouth from the edges of these. Anyone who has themselves suffered a paper cut knows just how painful they can be.
Picture books show babies the world
At about six months old babies begin to understand correlations, such as the fact that a certain sound can be connected to a picture of an animal. This means that children have particular fun with Selecta’s play and motor skills books. Every picture book features colourful illustrations based on a theme, such as animals or vehicles. These offer many opportunities to spot details together.
Look at the pictures together with your child and tell them the names of the figures and objects. Babies are extremely enthusiastic when they hear noises and are able to copy them. So don’t be shy—imitate animal noises or rumble like a tractor.
Try this out: point at the picture of a cat and make a loud “meow” sound. Your child will soon mimic this sound and point at the cat themselves when you ask “where is the cat?”.
In this way, you use play to encourage linguistic skills in your child as well as to strengthen the emotional bond to you as the “reader”.
Cuddling and telling stories: this makes reading into a favourite ritual
Most adults prefer to read in a comfortable position on cosy cushions and blankets. For babies, it is no different. So combine cuddling with reading as much as you can, then your child will connect books with a pleasant experience from early on.
In addition, you should let your child set the pace of narration by encouraging them to turn the pages themselves. All Selecta picture books are made from sturdy wood and have rounded edges and corners. This makes them really easy for small baby’s hands to grip.
But be aware, too, that babies can only concentrate fully for a few minutes. They always need plenty of time to process all of the stimuli. So treat your child to a break as soon as they start to get restless, look away or show signs of tiredness. The older your child is, the longer you can carry on reading.
To start with, your explanations should be as simple as possible. But as soon as you realise that your baby understands what you are saying, you can embellish your stories with increasingly exciting details in preparation for “real” books with text to read.