Catchy poems and songs aren’t just a great way to pass time, they’re great for your mini-me’s development, too!

Singing nursery rhymes with your little one won’t just entertain her, you’ll also create cherished memories and strong bonds with them.

Says mother of two Christine Xu, who sets her TV in the living room to play lullabies on YouTube whenever she bathes her 7-month-old daughter, Jaylynn, “I’ve been using it as part of her bath-time routine since she was about a month old. She’s definitely calmer with the music playing, especially when I’m shampooing her hair, I’ll sing along to distract her.”

Simple traditional children’s songs or poems can actually boost your toddler’s mental development, too. Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, advises that you start exposing your children to nursery rhymes from birth. He points out the benefits your cherub can gain when you sing such ditties…

1) Learns new words and how to use them

Listening to these songs strengthens your child’s language abilities ― they will also learn how words are supposed to be used when they hear the sounds, so that they know how each word should be pronounced. The repetitive nature of nursery rhymes should also speed up your child’s learning.

2) Boosts their non-verbal communication skills

As your fidgety child’s attention probably won’t last, including gestures when you sing will keep them amused. They will also pick up useful non-verbal communication techniques.

3) Inspires a love for stories and books

When your child’s language comprehension improves, they will start to use their imagination to act out the rhymes in their heads. They will need this same set of skills when they start reading. If you are reciting these rhymes from board books, bubba also acquires other skills such as the right way to hold their books and how to read them.

Rhymes like Itsy-Bitsy Spider teaches your child values like resilience and that tough times don’t last.

4) Reinforces happy memories when needed

Junior can sing the same cheery verses to comfort themselves when they are feeling down or finding it tough to cope with changes if they are settling into a new environment.

5) Allows your sweetie to experience history

For instance, they will learn that in days past, Jack and Jill had to climb up a hill to “fetch a pail of water”, a far cry from how we simply have to turn on the taps for clean water today.

6) Teaches them right from wrong/important values

Nursery rhymes like Five Little Monkeys introduce your mischievous tykes to the consequences of “jumping on the bed” and misbehaving. The rhyme 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught A Fish Alive teaches your child that they shouldn’t use bare hands to touch animals. Other rhymes like Itsy-Bitsy Spider teaches your child values like resilience and that tough times don’t last.

7) Builds friendships

Chances are, your child will be singing the same rhymes once he enters preschool. Being able to sing the song with their friends can create a sense of connection between them.

Power up your rhymes!

Remember, your children can only sit for short periods of time. So, follow the following tips to make sure they get the most out of the activity:

* Be confident when you sing.

* Sing songs slowly and clearly.

* Use props or toys.

Photo: iStock

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