New parents often struggle with decisions regarding child rearing. Nothing prepares the first-time mom and dad for being in charge of the survival of that tiny human.
I remember pondering about every choice I made. Bottle fed or breast fed? Pacifier or no pacifier? Rocking to sleep or putting to bed awake? When to call the doctor? As my first child and her succeeding siblings grew older, the choices became even more harrowing.
I didn't get everything right, as I'm sure my children will attest. Even as I blundered through parenthood, winning a few and losing a few, my intentions were always good. Too bad there's not a rewind for the mistakes.
One thing I know I did right for my little ones was to take them on my lap and read aloud to them. Reading time is a cuddling and bonding time for parent and child. It's also an important time for language development. From very young ages, children can learn about rhyming, alliteration, and repetition. Reading aloud develops memory and phonetics. When books are read aloud, new words are introduced to the child. Children learn to listen. Reading aloud helps to develop reading skills and a love for books.
Raising children is the most important job I have ever undertaken. My children are pretty awesome, in spite of any deficits in my parenting. I still don't know if I made the right choice on the pacifier question, but I do know the decision to read aloud to my children was a good one. I watched each one become an early reader. They excelled in school and love books.
My advice is free, but I believe the message has great value. I encourage parents to take time every day to read aloud to their children. Reading aloud to a child is one right decision.
This essay was previously published on my blog http://anitastafford.com on 1/17/16.