Do these four things every day to nourish growing brains
Babies and young children learn most from the important people around them and the little things you do together every day all count towards helping them get what they need, when they need it.
Giving your child a great start doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s as simple as taking some time together to talk, read, sing and play – and doing it throughout the day as you go about what you need to do.
Keeping books around the house and in your nappy bag, car or pram makes books familiar and easy to access for both you and your child.
- It’s ok to stop part-way through when your child gets tired or distracted. Reading and chatting about a few pages at a leisurely pace is better than rushing a book start-to-finish
- Skip the words and tell stories just “reading” the pictures
- Read slowly, and re-read the same favourites
- Explain words that are unfamiliar
- Ask your child questions about the story
- Ask your local library staff for recommendations that suit the age and development stage of your child
Sing songs and rhymes
Singing songs and rhymes as you go about your day is great for early literacy development.
- Sing slowly so little ones can hear all the sounds
- Make up actions to go with the words
- Sing your favourite songs over and over again
- Learn new ones at a free library rhyme time session
Narrate your day and talk about what you’re doing
Children learn words by hearing them so the more you talk, the more words they can learn. This can make a big difference to how many words they know by the time they reach school.
- Talk about what you are buying at the supermarket
- Talk about what you can see out the window when you’re driving
- Talk about what you’re making for dinner
- Talk about what is happening at the park/swimming lessons/school pick up
- Add extra words to what your little one says
Pause when you talk so your child can respond in the way they can. They may be too young to respond using words but they can still respond with sounds and gestures and it’s important when talking to allow them the time to do that.
Play is a child’s work. It gives children an opportunity to practice what they’re learning.
- Play peek-a-boo and hide and seek
- Play sorting games with household objects (pegs, kitchen plastics, laundry)
- Play with puppets and dress-ups
- Play and talk. Use basic craft materials, lego, blocks or playdough and talk about the creations you make together
- Make cubbies and forts out of sheets
For more ideas, attend a library story, rhyme or baby time session. They’re fun, free and family-friendly. Check with your local library for session times and details.