Christmas can be an expensive time of year for parents. At Spring by Action for Children and Spring @ Oscars, we think the most important gift you can give to a child is time. Our resident Head of Early Years, Sarah Read has shared her 12 days of Christmas list to enjoy with your children, and they don’t cost much either!

Sharing books with your baby helps develop vocabulary, confidence and relationships

Shared Reading

Read to your children and give them a chance to respond! Encourage conversation about the book with your child, we have suggested some of our favourites below but why should you read with your children and babies?

Reading together encourages:

  • Longer conversations – what we call serve and return interactions (think like a ping pong ball or tennis ball, back and forth).
  • Toddlers to learn and develop new vocabulary.
  • Children to feel secure, relaxed and soothed. Your baby loves to hear your voice, or any familiar adult’s voices and this helps to keep them calm in times of distress.

Check out your local library opening times over the festive period. If you have’t joined yet, make it one of your new years resolutions. You can borrow books for free and most libraries enable children to have their own card, access to reserved texts for free (so if you are in the middle of a trilogy, you can get them all reserved!)

Start a Saturday morning routine of always popping into the library – encourage a love of books, it helps your child in so many ways, plus is fun!

Our favourites:

  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  • Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? By Eric Carle
  • Dinosaur Roar by Paul Stickland
  • Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne
  • Not Now Bernard by David McKee
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
  • Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
  • Peepo! By Allan & Janet Ahlberg
  • Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
  • Oh No George by Chris Haughton

Sarah Read is Head of Early Years at Action for Children. Sarah leads our consultancy team working with Department of Education, research and evaluation projects in the early years and other key partners such as Prof. Ted Melluish the Education Endowment Fund and more.