Olivia is the manager of a fantastic outdoor nursery in Northamptonshire, and mum of two girls. As someone who has a professional as well as personal interest in resources which are beneficial for children and their, we asked her for her thoughts on some of the lovely things we have to choose from here at BeauBaba… this is what she had to say!
If I told you there was one scientifically proven thing you can do each day to drastically improve your child’s cognitive development, academic success, mental health and wellbeing, their social development, communication skills and their imagination, would you believe it is something as simple as reading them a book? Reading is SO much more than just, well, reading.
Some of my very early childhood memories involve books and reading. Every Saturday morning my Dad would take me to our local library to pick a ‘Spot the Dog’ book, before heading to Greggs to get a bag of cheese straws and a chocolate éclair! It was a real treat every weekend, and it’s where my passion and love for books really began… (and my love for cheese straws and éclairs!). As a teenager I loved going to get the latest Harry Potter installment from the local book shop. Nothing beats the smell of a new book – and is it just me or did the Harry Potter books have their own unique smell?!
Fast forward a fair few years, and books are a part of our home. They are everywhere! In every room and on every shelf. They’re handled every day, and read every night. They are all within reach of both my children (age 4 years, and 16 months), and they are all very loved. Sure, some have ripped pages, and some are a little bent, but they are all treasured.
From a young age we’ve focused on how we respect books, and so from tiny toddlers they have both been able to handle the books well. Of course this has meant some books have been damaged a little along the way, but there’s only one way to learn, right?!
I’m sure we can all think back to a book we have read, and still remember the vision we had in our mind of the characters and the places. It’s why I am always disappointed when authors decide to sell their books to the big movie makers – the movie is never like the vision I’ve had in my mind! The book can take you anywhere. Books build your child’s imagination. They help to develop your child’s understanding of emotions and empathy, life skills that can be tough to master! There are a great range of books that support children with understanding their feelings and emotions. We’re really excited to try out the ‘I feel’ range soon, starting with ‘I Feel Sad’. We have some big emotions in the house right now and I know this book will help my eldest to identify her emotions, and give her a better understanding of why we sometimes feel the way we do. I always find I get so much more from Eliza about how she is feeling if we’re reading a book about it all together. It gives her a safe place to express herself, and allows her the time to ask questions.
Sitting with your child reading a book builds a unique bond. That feeling of getting lost in a book together, where you’re the only two in the room who are at that moment in time absorbed in another world, is really something quite magical.
If your books are high up on a shelf, ask yourself how often does your child reach for that story or ask to read it. Naturally, children aren’t going to be looking up at the high book shelf, because they learn from a young age if it’s out of their reach it is likely to be something they can’t have! Now don’t get me wrong, when a nice new shiny book arrives from BeauBaba I find it tricky to let the book go! But I remind myself that books aren’t for sitting on a shelf, looking pretty and gathering dust. The only way my children will also gain that passion for books is for me to trust them with them in the first place. Four years on, and I can safely say it’s worked! I have two little book worms. Eliza, my eldest, is a lover of ALL books! Her go to books are usually factual, but more on our favourite books in a little while!
My youngest, Tiger, goes for the Flip Flap & touchy feely books every time – we love the ‘That’s not my…’ collection, and what makes us love them even more is that the simplicity of the text means that Eliza is now able to recall the words and read back to her little sister.
It’s never too late to ignite the passion for books. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking to yourself “Damn, I really don’t read much to my kids”, please don’t worry! Start by adding books into your child’s play space, perhaps with an ‘invitation to play’ set up. There are some great books over on BeauBaba that go with this style brilliantly. Here are a couple of our favourites:
– SEA written by Britta Teekentrup. A perfect book to go alongside some Lanka Kade sea animals and seashells! (The illustrations in this book are beautiful!)
– the ‘Peep inside’ range are great to add to your child’s play. We’re a big fan of Space here at the moment so I know ‘Peep inside Space’ would be a huge hit in this house!
BeauBaba even do a ‘Book Club’ membership. A great way to introduce your child to more books in a fun way, together.
Reading really is so much more than just a story. It is the only scientifically proven link to academic success. Over at BeauBaba they understand the importance of books in early childhood! So much so the books even have their own little tab on the site – titled ‘Book Shop’ (which I LOVE!). Here you can find the books grouped into different categories making it easy to search for a style your child likes.