What children need to know about reading and writing before they can read or write is called early literacy. As your child’s caregiver, you are their first teacher. The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five, a time your child spends with you. By age three, 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. As a child ages, the brain gets rid of weaker synaptic connections in favor of stronger ones. We can improve the strength of synaptic connections with experiences that reinforce learning that has already occurred.
In our Building Blocks to Early Literacy series, we will share early literacy tips for you to do at home to help your child get ready to learn to read!
Today’s Early Literacy Tip is: Sing During Stressful Times
Singing to your child has been found to have many benefits that help get your child ready to read. It encourages them to listen more attentively and hold patterns in their memory, helping to improve their memory and attention span. It increases their vocabulary, giving them the chance to recognize and use more words later, and it slows down the language helping them learn letter sounds
But the benefits of singing go beyond that. Singing helps reduce the levels of Cortisol in your child’s body; Cortisol is your bodies primary stress hormone and a built-in alarm system. Singing eases the body of tension and helps it relax.
Children experience new and different things every day, and sometimes those experiences are going to confuse or frighten them and cause them to have stress. Singing to your child during stressful times will soothe their nerves and help them calm down. You should pick a favorite and familiar song and gently sing to them. Your child absolutely loves hearing the voice of their loved ones. You can sing a lullaby or songs from our storytimes or whatever song happens to be going through your head, and don’t worry if you are not much of a singer, it doesn’t matter to them how you sound, they are going to enjoy it no matter what so lean into it and have fun! You’ll see the stress melt away.
Some authors and singers to help you when singing to your child. Many of these can be found online with a simple Google search or using our Libby app at the library:
- Jim Gill
- Rachel Isadora
- Claudia Rueda
- James Dean (Pete the Cat series)
- Hap Palmer
- Will Hillenbrand
- Caspar BabyPants