Deanna Sargsyan SLP, CF
Ever wonder why children tend to pick up on singing nursery rhymes so easily? Or have you noticed that your child begs you to turn on Cocomelon songs? Maybe they love listening to the same songs over and over again? Nursery rhymes and songs have a powerful impact when it comes to your child’s early language development. According to Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, not enough emphasis has been placed on the benefits of singing in early childhood development. Singing nursery rhymes and traditional lullabies to infants before they learn to speak is essential for later educational success and emotional wellbeing. Singing helps to foster skills in a variety of areas, including a child’s social, language, and learning skills:
- Phonemic Skills – Studies have shown that nursery rhymes can help improve children’s spelling, reading, and other literacy skills. These songs will be one of your child’s first experiences with words and learning how to sequence syllable sounds in a word.
- Cognitive Development – Songs like “Old MacDonald” and “London Bridge” are easy to remember because they provide repetition of rhymes. These repetitive and predictive songs allow children to work on skills such as inferencing, understanding vocabulary words, auditory comprehension, learning how to sequence (beginning, middle, end), memory, and concentration.
- Speech – Nursery rhymes play an important part in speech development. They provide opportunities for the child to articulate words repeatedly, understand inflection, pitch and volume, and develop mouth and tongue muscles.
- Gestures – Songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” are great examples of how easy it is to pair gestures with songs. Gestures are an important step when it comes to encouraging children to communicate. Children who use gestures tend to develop a larger vocabulary, learn a target word more quickly, and are able to form sentences earlier compared to children who don’t.
How to get involved
- Create a routine with your child – Use nursery rhymes in your child’s daily routine! You can accompany a rhyme every time they brush their teeth, during bath time, or before dinner.
- Know your child’s favorite nursery rhyme – Find out what your child’s favorite song is and sing it over and over and over again! Children learn through exposure and repetition.
- Move around – Children show an increase in engagement when activities are paired with movement. Pair gestures relating to your rhyme and have your child follow along. This is not only great for balance and coordination, but also for children who like to move!
- Get creative – Use items around your house to act out or sing along to the rhyme. Make it fun and keep your child engaged!
Remember to stay consistent and encourage any form of communication with your child!