Nursery rhymes may seem old-school, especially in this era when so many other apps, books, stories or songs available to young children. It may seem like they are no longer relevant (I mean, it’s less common to take a lamb with you to school nowadays). But let us highlight as speech pathologists, why we think they should not be a thing of the past!
1. Nursery rhymes are the perfect first stories.
They introduce the idea that a narrative has a beginning, middle and end, however they are short, so you’ll get through it before they start putting the book in their mouth or wondering off. As she gets older, you can introduce longer stories and those with a more complicated plot.
TOP TIP: For kids 3+, simply highlight the parts of a narrative
Beginning – Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout
Middle – Down came the rain and washed the spider out
End – Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, so Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.
2. Nursery rhymes support language development and prepare your child for reading success
Nursery rhymes are often short and have a great deal of repetition. Repetition offers your growing child the opportunity to tune into words a second, third or hundredth time and helps him remember what he has just heard. Rhyme and rhythm highlight the sounds and syllables in words. An understanding of sounds and syllables – a skill called phonological awareness) helps kids learn to read! As children develop at different rates, using nursery rhymes will support children’s communication and language development at whatever stage they are at. Older children may be beginning to learn to rhyme, whereas younger children may still be at the stage of learning new words.
TOP TIP: For kids 3+, allow your child to fill in the blank by leaving off the final word.
“Run, run, as fast as you can,
You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread ____.”
3. Nursery rhymes help develop social skills
Singing nursery rhymes can also help develop children’s social skills as it is a great opportunity for children to get to know their peers. Sitting next to one another and holding hands during the song ‘Row row row your boat’ is an example of how nursery rhymes can help a young baby begins to feel part of a social circle by enjoying singing or reciting together. Nursery rhymes are the perfect opportunity to introduce your child to turn-taking, a valuable skill for making friends, waiting, being patient, negotiating and problem solving. Children need opportunities to practice turn taking. Many rhymes invite your child’s participation and provide learning opportunities through movement. When rhythm and movement are combined, the brain is very stimulated and your child is likely to remember both the movement and the rhyme more efficiently and effectively. Take the nursery rhyme ‘Jack in the box’ as an example. Even one year olds will squat down quietly and wait for the verbal cue to be given before they jump up! ‘Jack is quiet down in his box, until someone opens the lid….BOO!’
TOP TIP: Invite your kids to take a turn – this can be giving you the last word in the rhyme, or doing an action, or both!
We hope you have been inspired to continue sharing and singing nursery rhymes to your kids and can you use the practical TOP TIPS. What was your favourite nursery rhyme growing up? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies