If you read just one book per day to a child from birth, they will have enjoyed over a thousand books by the time they are three!
This is the second of a series of posts in which I speak to experts in a number of different child development fields, to get their thoughts on early years reading, sharing picture books and the benefits of black and white images.
Introducing Laura Chelmick; Super nanny, maternity nurse, winner of the ‘Professional Nanny of the Year Award’ and entrepreneur. About the embark on her own business venture, Laura has a wealth of experience nurturing little people and their development.
In my career as a Professional Nanny and Maternity nurse, books have always been such an important part of my work. I remember packing for trips around the world with families and them saying ‘why do we need to bring books?’. For me they were one of the most important things we needed, as it was part of little ones consistency and routine, in a time of change with hotel rooms/ jet lag etc. Songs and books were everything to me as a nanny.
Reading to your child is actually one of the most important things you can do - If you read just one book per day to a child from birth, they will have enjoyed over a thousand books by the time they are three!
New parents were always surprised in my work as a maternity nurse, when I would open up my ‘Laura Poppins’ bag and always have a black and white book - most parents would say, ‘but they are too young for books, I don’t think they can even see yet?’
We understand that babies vision is very limited at birth, as their visual system is only just developing. However, over the first few days and weeks it improves every day, and babies will be able to see high contrast images in black and white. Nature astounds me, in the fact that mums nipples will become darker near to birth in order to help little one see them! Giving the opportunity to see black and white images will help little ones vision day by day.
Over the years I have always been unimpressed by the range of black and white books available for babies, they are always very simple and babies enjoy them for a few days and then I see them looking for more. From my own research, babies learn very quickly and need much more than the very simple books, and a lot of variety in their learning.
In my days as a maternity nurse, I used to make home made books out of images I printed online as I was not satisfied by the classic black and white books available. You can imagine my joy when I heard about Ruth’s products.
Although learning continues throughout life, what people don’t realise is the huge potential for learning from birth and within the first year of life. This is where the black and white books and flash cards are key. Ruth has designed such great products based on her research, wonderful quality items that also support the environment, this makes me VERY happy!
I initially shared the books with a friends new baby, aged 3 weeks. We put the flashcards on the wall for nappy change time and little one was transfixed. After usually not enjoying being changed, she was so happy staring at the images. I think this is a great use for the flashcards in the early months as you can easily put them on the wall, change them regularly and if you have older siblings they will love the facts on the back. This is such a great multi use product that is suitable from newborn to any age! They would also look lovely as framed prints for the nursery.
I also shared them with my god daughter Bella who is 4 and her little brother Sebastian aged 7 months. Initially I thought they would just be for Sebastian but they both absolutely loved them.
Sebastian loved the black and white books, his eyes lit up when he saw the animals. He enjoyed them when he was sitting up and also whilst on his tummy. He also loved watching his sister look at the flashcards and make funny noises and movements when asking the questions. It was lovely to see them interact together. They are also brilliant for after meals in the high chair ( after hand and fingers have been wiped down!) Sebastian usually cries after finishing his food but he was very happy to sit in his chair reading about animals from around the world.
The cards are beautifully made, with rounded corners and the card is lovely and thick.
I will definitely be adding these amazing products to my ‘Loved by Laura’ collection, as they really are a wonderful investment for your child. I love the variety of learning opportunities available from them that will last for many years.
Laura qualified as a Professional Nanny in 2002, and just three years later in 2005 she had won the ‘Professional Nanny of the Year Award’. Her work has taken her all over the world and she says its been an amazing experience.
“I then stepped into maternity nannying, helping parents with their newborn. This was incredible as for me the learning in the first year is just magic. I have always had a love for black and white books as I feel my work with little ones in the first three years is the baby Oxford university! My clients always used to call me ‘Laura Poppins’ and I would always have things in my bag, number one a black and white book for baby.”
She has now hung up her ‘nanny’ shoes and is embarking on her own business venture.
‘Baby Schmookie’ will be launching soon and will offer lots of support for new parents including a section called ‘Loved by Laura’ - “this is going to be a range of all my favourite things in one place for new parents to look at, I will have categories of everything from hospital bag, the nursery, sleep, PLAY, etc..”
Laura’s business will also be offering workshops (online and in person), you tube channel talking all things baby and early education, and also consultancy, overnight service for people that need the 1:1 care.
For now you can find Laura on Instagram www.instagram.com/laurachelmick