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Nursery Rhymes


One of the most effective ways of familiarising your child with reading and speaking is to introduce him to the wonderful world of nursery rhymes.


Why are nursery rhymes so effective?

Nursery rhymes are great at helping a child learn words, because they are so easy to remember. Very often when adults have to remember a new word or name, they do so by association. A new client may have the same name as your best friend, and you associate the two in order to remember the name. Similarly, when a new word rhymes with an old one, it is a lot easier to remember it. Pronunciations too can be memorised with the help of rhymes - for example, your child can be taught that soup, pool, school… all rhyme with 'fool'.


At what age should I start singing songs to my child?

You don't have to wait until your child is older before you introduce him to nursery rhymes. Start singing to your baby at the outset, as often as possible. When bathing your baby for example, you could sing, "This is the way we wash our hands." When you are outdoors with your baby in the sun, you could sing, "You are my sunshine." It is also a good idea to leave a cassette of nursery rhymes playing in the background when your child is awake and playing around. Regular exposure to the same songs will help your child remember them, and before you know it, he will start recognising songs and words.


Should I sing to my child if I cannot carry a tune?

Many mothers are hesitant about singing songs to their children if they don't have a good voice. Don't let this bother you! Your child loves you and your voice, no matter how little melody it has. Sing, without worrying whether or not you are in tune. If you are very particular, then recite nursery rhymes to your child.


What are the other benefits?

Singing nursery rhymes often also gives your child more confidence, and improves his ability and desire to speak out in front of strangers. It's all about being vocal. The more your child is familiar with nursery rhymes and the more he keeps singing or chanting them aloud, the greater the chances that your child will feel comfortable narrating the same nursery rhyme in front of others - and the appreciation that this brings will increase his confidence. However, don't force your child to recite rhymes in front of your friends if he is not comfortable doing so. Let the desire come from within.


What are some good rhymes to sing?

A great favourite with kids is the song "When you're happy and you know it." This is because it combines actions with words, and kids enjoy acting out the steps. Along with the song, they learn what are hands, feet and fingers, and pick up various other actions like clap, stomp and snap. Here are the words to this old favourite:

When you're happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
When you're happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)
When you're happy and you know it and you really want to show it
When you're happy and you know it clap your hands. (clap, clap)

When you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet (stomp stomp)
When you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet (stomp stomp)
When you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it
When you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet. (stomp stomp)

When you're happy and you know it, shout "Hurray!" (hoo-ray!)
When you're happy and you know it, shout "Hurray!" (hoo-ray!)
When you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it
When you're happy and you know it, shout "Hurray!" (hoo-ray!)

When you're happy and you know it, do all three
(clap-clap, stomp-stomp, hoo-ray!)
When you're happy and you know it, do all three
(clap-clap, stomp-stomp, hoo-ray!)
When you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it
When you're happy and you know it, do all three.
(clap-clap, stomp-stomp, hoo-ray!)

Other much loved nursery rhymes are:

London Bridge is falling down
Pop Goes the Weasel
Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush


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