Singing with your baby or toddler is a fun and fantastic way for them to hear sounds and learn new words.

Singing develops early literacy

Recent research has indicated that singing nursery rhymes with young children in a fun and interactive way can contribute to later literacy abilities. Don't worry - it won't matter to your child if you are not in tune!

Nursery rhymes are usually short with lots of repetition, rhythm and rhyme making them enjoyable and interesting for young children. Your baby, toddler or young child will love to hear you sing and traditional rhymes are a good place to start. If you know other songs, lullabies and nursery rhymes from your traditional language, give them a try as well.

Don’t know what to sing?

Children love to choose songs. Get a pillow case or bag and add in some items that can help them choose the songs. Why not put in a toy bus for Wheels on the Bus, a star for Twinkle Twinkle or a spider for Incy Wincy. Your child can then choose the object and let you know what they want to sing. If you don’t have those items, a drawing for each song works just as well.

When singing, remember to slow down and pause before important words. This gives your child a chance to join in, eg. Twinkle, Twinkle Little... (pause)... Star”.

Repeat favourite songs, no matter how many times you’ve sung them that day. The more your child hears them, the more likely it is they will be able to join in and start to learn the words. Make every nappy change or bath time an opportunity to share a song. Have fun!

Need to brush up on your nursery rhymes?

Come along to the free Rhyme Time session at your local library and brush up on your nursery rhyme skills. Have you forgotten the words or the tune? You can also try a tool such as Baby Karaoke for a quick reminder.

Join a free Rhyme Time session at your local library and brush up on your nursery rhyme skills

References

  • Dunst, C., Meter, D. & Hamby, D. (2011). Relationship Between Young Children’s Nursery Rhyme Experiences and Knowledge and Phonological and Print-Related Abilities. CELLReviews 4(1). pp1-12.

  • Shoghi, A., Willersdorf, E., Braganza, L. and McDonald, M. (2013). 2013 Let’s Read Literature Review. Victoria: The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.