Reading to children can sometimes seem a thankless task. 'Are you even listening?' and 'Stop ripping the pages!' are all things we've heard ourselves saying, rest assured. But getting them interested in books is really important and much easier when you cater for their age. Here's our guide to help make them life-long bookworms from day dot.

BEFORE THEY'RE HERE

Reading to bump

A 2013 study by the University of Washington in Seattle found babies who were read to in the womb were able to differentiate between their mum’s voice and others around them. So, if you’re on board, give it a try. Pick a kids’ classic, give your bump a rub and feel those little kicks that say: 'Keep reading, I'm listening!'

NEWBORNS

0-6 months

It’s never too soon but at this age it's more about the visuals. It's a fact that newborns engage better with black and white geometric shapes, so start with monochrome choices to get them hooked. Wee Gallery creates soft books and high-contrast cards perfect for this stage. Lay them out on the floor during tummy time, prop them up while they are chilling in their chair or even take them out on journeys in the pram for some reading and sensory fun on the go.

GROWING BABIES

6-12 months

Black and white books and cards will see you through a good few months, but when they've mastered focusing, they’re ready to appreciate colour too. Paper books are still out of bounds, so invest in some soft books, which they can chew and tug at to their heart’s delight. Then, when you can finally prize it out of their hands, read it to them. Designs by Kaloo and Taf Toys have ties and loops so you can fasten them on to the pram, car seat or bouncer ready for them to take a look when they have the urge.

THE TODDLER YEARS

1-3 years

Toddlers love to act out (and act up, but we aren't talking about that right now!) So use role play to get them interested and keep them coming back for more. Got a book with an animal in it? Make up a story sack with a mini plushie that will have them acting out the story even as the final page is turned. Abrams & Chronicle's Badaboom Badabump! comes with eight sturdy animal figures that feature in the story, literally bringing the book to life for them during - and between - between readings. Alternatively, pick up a book with flaps or fingerplay that harnesses toddler energy for good.

PRE-SCHOOLERS AND BEYOND

3 years+

We know what it's like at the end of the day, the mayhem of the bedtime routine is finally coming to an end and you just want to tuck them in and go have your tiny slice of peace... but five minutes of reading does them (and you, believe it or not!) a world of good. Start giving them the freedom at this stage to pick a story book and then snuggle in bed or a chair for five minutes.Bookspeed's innovative titles with irresistible graphics are just right for some pre-bed time, non-preachy learning.

Want to create the perfect reading spot for you or them? Read our guide to Creating An Inspiring Reading Nook.

If you need any advice on the best books or toys for any stage, or any help at all, just pop us a message on Live Chat. We're here 7am - 11pm every day and we'll do all we can to set you on the right track. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.