Helpful articles on parenting and child development.
These helpful articles are written by experts in early childhood and pre-school learning to offer you support as your child grows and develops. Find out more about your child’s growing independence, how they find out about and understand the world around them, and along the way enjoy being creative and physical, discovering words and numbers. Each article offers links to related CBeebies programmes and online activities, giving you ways to extend the experience and learning opportunity for your child.
Hearing and joining in with familiar songs, rhymes and jingles can be a fun activity which helps children to tune into the rhythms and sounds of a language and hear its distinctive tune. Awareness of rhyme in young children has also been linked to progress in reading later on.
Young children have an interest in the sounds of language. Several studies have been done on young children’s ‘sleep monologues’ when they are alone in their cot. Just before falling asleep they play with sounds and words, showing how even very young children play quite spontaneously with words they know and try out new sounds and combinations for themselves. As they become more proficient speakers, children will often play with words to create unlikely rhyming sounds and nonsense words which are frequently the cause of fun and laughter. This interest and enthusiasm for language and awareness of sounds is important, not just because it is a source of enjoyment for both grown-ups and children, but also because it is the beginning of an awareness that words can be broken up into parts, which is important for reading and writing.
From the time children are very young they can enjoy rhymes and songs that have actions. Action rhymes that involve the whole body, or finger and hands, give an extra dimension by making them more memorable and contributing to the rhythmic quality of the experience as well as being fun to do together. Songs and rhymes have the advantage of being a source of shared amusement that is short and can be performed spontaneously, almost anytime, anywhere.
Rhymes and songs encourage participation because they always have rhythm and usually repeated sections that children can join in with, making them predictable and so easier to memorise. This inbuilt rhythm and repetition can also be a source of satisfaction and pleasure. It also makes it easier for children to repeat them independently, building their confidence. There is evidence to show that children who speak more than one language will benefit from learning rhymes in all the languages they know.
Frequent repetition of rhymes and songs as a fun activity is likely to result in a familiarity that can be a good basis for play. Get to know the rhymes together then try leaving out words, especially the rhyming ones, so that your child can supply them; deliberately say the wrong word so that your child can supply the correct one; step back and allow your child to take the control and follow their lead; make up your own actions to the rhymes.