Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: a scatterling of Africa...
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.... with us being a family of book-crazy, reading addicted book-worms, I am now totally easing up on reading to my 2nd. With my 1st I read as soon as he could sit up, virtually. We went through a phase in early toddlerhood when all he wanted to do was to be read to (I mean literally for hours on end, often daily) and I had to restore balance and model more down-on-the-mat playing with him instead. I do think he got to like "being entertained" a lot and had a hard time letting go of that. We try to follow family-centered parenting (as opposed to child-centered) and although this does leave room for plenty of one-on-one time with our children, it also lets the child be the caregiver's satelite and there is not so much child-focussed activity going on.
I think people go overboard about the "reading to babies" thing; I think mobile babies usually would rather want to be off exploring anyway. If your child is interested then fine (but probably only for really rhyming, strongly rhythmical or peekaboo books), but if all he/she wants to do is grab at and eat the pages, that's fine too. Children are such imitators: model reading yourself (you'll find more chunks of time as your baby gets older), leave lots of beautifully illustrated, colorful board books (see the latest copy of "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease for ideas) about at eye-level in a basket stacked with covers facing forwards (for paging through and yes, chewing!) and do a little lap-sit reading every now and again. Balance, as with everything, is key.
Michelle in NY - mom to total bookworm ds (5) and book-eater dd (11 months)