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When should you start to read to your baby? Do you wait until he can understand the words, or do you begin in infancy?
At first blush, reading to infants sounds like a waste of time. But reading reaps benefits long before a child learns to understand the words.
By the time a baby reaches his first birthday, he should have learned all the sounds required to speak. Reading aloud to him will give him a more complete taste of the language, teaching him about communication and building his listening and memory skills. Even if he cannot understand the words, your emotions and the expressiveness of your voice will encourage his developing brain to begin processing new stimuli.
Babies develop their language skills by processing new words, imitating sounds, and recognizing pictures. Children who hear words frequently when very young tend to know more words at age 2 than do kids whose parents do not read to them.
When you read a story, complete with pictures, voice inflection, and gestures when necessary, you invite your baby to look or point and encourage him to show interest in the book. As they age, children often begin asking questions or trying to read the book themselves. These actions contribute to both mental and social development.
Reading to your baby has at least one other benefit, less tangible than the others but perhaps even more important. As you hold a tiny person and read to him, he will begin to associate you with books. You’ll want to speak to your baby regularly in any case, as your communication will help you both bond with him and let him know you care about him.
So by all means, communicate early and often. But forget the baby talk and get right to books with real words and stories. You can help him develop needed communication and social skills and instill in him a love of reading at the same time.
Why does everyone else have cool parents that let them get tattoos and piercings but me?
I’m 18, a senior in high school, honor grad, etc. I’m not a bad kid. All I wanna do is get my belly button pierced, but my parents won’t let me. They say I can get it done the first day I leave for college in August. I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. It’s not something that’ll affect them, and I can pay for it myself. How can I change their mind?
For the purpose of answering this question, I won’t debate the wisdom of tattoos and piercings. Instead, let’s consider this from a parent’s point of view.
Fact 1 – You are living in their house, on their dime, bound by their rules. If they don’t want you to get a tattoo or stick a piece of metal through your body, that’s their call.
Fact 2 – “Everyone else” does not have parents that allow tattoos and piercings. While such actions have become more common in recent years, plenty of parents still discourage the practices.
Fact 3 – If your parents wrote me about this issue, I would tell them to stay the course. Some parents allow their kids to get tattoos and piercings because they want to be their children’s friends more than they want to be parents. Some parents simply don’t care enough to say no. And yes, some parents think tattoos and piercings are just fine. Your parents don’t fall in any of those groups. And that’s not a bad thing.
If your parents object to tattoos and piercings and will not allow them while you live under their roof, you can probably do little to change their mind. They have no reason to alter their stance, and if you push the point, you will do nothing but damage your relationship with your parents.
If piercings are so important to you, just wait the four months until you get out on your own.
Thank you for reading today’s Q&A. Check back here tomorrow for another installment of the Ask The Dad advice column. If you’d like to submit an Ask The Dad question, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org .