As a working Mama, I am well aware of the speed at which each day zooms by, until days are weeks, and weeks are months, and months are well, you know, years. Everyone knows how fast time flies by but do we really take the time to slow down and enjoy the little things?
Tonight, while my son was watching Caillou and the Pajanimals (his nightly ritual before story time) I didn't rush around folding that one load of laundry that's always wrinkled in the dryer or wash the dishes; I sat down with my just-turned 19 month old daughter and painted her toenails. She was very excited to sit in my lap and watch me put on the glittery polish. "Pitty toes," she said and pointed the glitter polish.
This cute little gesture of course reminded me of "This Little Piggy." You know the rhyme, "This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef. This little piggy had none. And this little piggy cried, wee-wee-wee, all the way home." I say this rhyme to my daughter all the time when I'm changing her diaper or putting her clothes on. As soon as I started grabbing for her little piggies she can't help but start giggling in anticipation of the wee, wee, wee because then, she knows I am going to tickle her chubby little legs. It's almost guaranteed that she'll grab her toes and motion for me to do it again and again once I start.
Nursery rhymes are a great, simple and for me, an often forgotten thing to do with your kids. It takes no materials, preparation or money. It's fun and there are many educational benefits to saying and singing nursery rhymes with your kids (always an added bonus). Teaching nursery rhymes helps develop early language skills like listening and speaking. Language development is the basis for literacy and literacy skills such as reading and writing often come easier with strong language development. (Notice I said often, you will probably never hear me say always when it comes to reading development because each child develops at his/her own pace.)
Nursery rhymes also help raise child awareness of new vocabulary and sentence structures that are not always familiar in our everyday speaking. For example, in the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" the spider goes up the waterspout. I know I don't generally use the word waterspout in my everyday language. Also, the rhyme says "Down came the rain." Normally, I would say, "It's raining." It's also important to note that nursery rhymes help introduce rhyme. Recognizing and producing rhymes is a cornerstone to phonological awareness (awareness of the sound structure of spoken words). So exposure to rhyming words at an early age is great!
Plus, singing or saying nursery rhymes with your kids gives you a little extra snuggly time that slows you down and keeps you focused on what matters most; spending those little moments with those important little people that are growing before your very eyes.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat
- Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
- Itsy, Bitsy Spider
- Patty Cake
- Rock-a-bye Baby
- This Little Piggy