TV and babies is a very controversial issue. Some people are totally against babies watching television. Some parents love the moments of peace it can give them to accomplish certain tasks, like showering or cooking. I have to say I am in the middle. I personally hate mindless television viewing for any of my children. I don’t believe, however, that television viewing, in controlled amounts, has any negative effects on babies. I have allowed my children to watch television in the form of educational videos beginning at a few months old. My oldest, now 13 years old, has not suffered in any way from watching television as a baby. Neither have my other 5 children.
You can begin teaching your baby colors right from birth. As you discuss things with your baby, always describe colors. This way your baby will naturally know colors. For example, if you are folding laundry, tell your baby that this is a green shirt and these are black pants. Describe the colors in your baby’s toys, the colors in books, and colors in your baby’s environment.
A fun way to encourage your baby to read is to purposely make a mistake when reading a favorite story or singing a favorite song. When you get to a word that your child knows, goof it up and then ask them to help you so you can read it correctly. It is a light and fun way to get silly while teaching your baby to read. Be sure to tell your baby that you don’t know what is wrong. You are having trouble and mixing up the words and that you need their help to get it right. Children love to play games. Make it fun and they won’t be able to get enough.
When talking to babies, be sure to avoid using baby talk at all costs. Baby talk is when you speak words that are not clear and concise. For example, instead of saying, “Does my baby want a bottle?” baby talk would sound something like this, “Me baby wan baba?” Your baby is working very hard to make sense of the language he hears. It is of the highest importance that you help him along by speaking properly and giving him something to work with. When you use baby talk, it is like teaching your baby a foreign language that will be useless later in life.
When we set out to do anything in life, it is important to be organized. Unless we have a plan, we can plan to fail. This is very true in regards to teaching your baby. Before getting started on a program, you must take some time to plan ahead and organize your materials. If you are using Monki See Monki Doo videos, choose a time that you can consistently show the videos to your baby each day. Mornings are a great time to do your reading program, because babies are generally happy when they wake up, or right after a nap.
The other day I posted that my 2 year old daughter read the word luminous from the tube of toothpaste. I may have shown her the word a total of 5 times. Each time I showed her the word, I told her that luminous means shiny. I figure she might as well understand the word, she may want to use it at some point in her life. Does she really understand what I mean when I tell her this? I don’t know, but being a born teacher, I am always looking for the lesson in each experience.
I have noticed in my experience teaching babies to read that there comes a point where reading and words just make sense. It is like this little light bulb goes off in their heads and they just get it. When this happens, this is a major breakthrough for your child. This is a fabulous place to be. Having been exposed to many words, they suddenly have a grasp of phonics and what sounds the letters make. They may not be sounding out new words on their own at this point, but they are able to learn new words very quickly. After showing your baby a word two or three times, they will master them. This is an opportune time to start introducing couplets, phrases and sentences. Don’t worry about going to fast. Don’t worry about showing them words they have never seen. Just keep reading with your baby. Your baby will let you know if your are going too fast. You can never fail if you follow your baby’s lead.
In my experience teaching babies to read, I have noticed it takes a bit of time to get into the groove. By that I mean making reading a part of life, not a specific, designated time that we choose to teach our babies to read. Setting time aside is great. It is necessary to get started. It doesn’t take much time, but it requires seeing new words.
Last night I as I was taking my baby to change her diaper, we stopped to read some sentence cards that are in her room. I have a pocket wall chart with about 8-10 sentences that we are working on. We read them several times throughout the day as we are in and out of her bedroom. Gabriella just turned two years old. We have been reading together since she was 3 months old, however she has not been as open about sharing what she has learned as my son was. She really enjoys reading with me. We play games and look at books and flash cards together. She just isn’t a little showoff, telling me all the words she knows.
When my 5th child was but a wee small baby, I started to identify his right from his left. As I put on his pants I would ask for his right leg or his left leg. We would do this with his feet when putting on shoes. At bath time I would identify his body parts as we washed up and then identify what was the right and what was the left. When he was 2 years old (or younger), he could easily point to his left cheek, his right elbow, his right knee, etc… This was a very natural way to teach him these things. I did not do this with my older children, and they are much slower at identifying left from right when I ask them. When we teach things to our children as babies, we are wiring their brains to think more efficiently.