Give Your Child a Great Start with First 5 California’s Talk Read Sing ®

Did you know that 90% of our brains are formed by the age of 5?  Recent research on brain development from First 5 California also reveals that more than 80% of a child’s brain is formed by age 3.

This means that most of children’s vital early learning takes place with parents or caregivers, before elementary school even starts. What’s the best way to ensure children’s crucial learning and brain development in those early years? According to First 5 California, Talk Read Sing ®. It Changes Everything.

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What’s great about talking, reading and singing?

  • It teaches language skills that last a lifetime.
  • It’s natural – every culture around the world does it.
  • It helps secure parent-child bonding.
  • It’s free!
  • Even if we don’t think we’re good singers, our children don’t care! They just love the sound of our voices.

How to get more talking, reading and singing into your child’s life

As vital as it is to use language with our kids, sometimes we feel silly having what feels like a one-way monologue with our little ones. First 5 California has tons of fun activities on their site that help kids learn creativity, language and problem solving. We like this Alphabet House activity because it’s a way of utilizing the body and the senses to learn language. Here are 6 other ways to add talking, reading and singing into your lives:

Look for “Readable” Moments

Books aren’t the only places where kids learn to read. Reading opportunities are all around us! When you’re walking with your child, point out letters and read signs out loud. My daughter loved to make a game of this by searching for certain letters and words (this is a good travel game as well).

We found these letters on local mailboxes! (Of course, letters appear on store signs, billboards, street signs, food packages, and more.)

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Chat Through Your Chores

When your baby or toddler is playing or when you’re performing chores at home, narrate what you or they are doing. “You’re building with blocks.” “I’m washing the dishes.” It might seem silly at first, but they’ll love it, and you’ll be helping them learn those language skills.

Make Lists

Kids often enjoy making lists. Even if the “words” consist of scribbles and lines, that’s the way they begin to read and write. Lists can be used to make menus for playing restaurant or receipts for playing store. Have older preschoolers watch you make your own shopping lists to make the connections between letters, words and items.

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Hit the Library

There’s a lot going on at the local library! We love our library’s sing-a-long and other programs. Many libraries offer an array of early literacy programs to support parents’ role as their children’s first teachers. They also serve as community hubs and help bring families together. Most libraries have expanded to programming far beyond books, and yet they initiate and foster a lifelong love of reading.

Our library hosted a paper boat making session and a race, based on the one in the book, Curious George Rides a Bike.

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Set a Great Example

One of the most effective tools for encouraging kids to read is to be readers ourselves. Try to set aside time for your own reading where your children can see you (and read side-by-side with them when they’re older). Make a habit of reading to your kids as often as possible. Some of my family’s fondest memories involve bonding over childhood books. Bedtime is a natural time for winding down and cuddling through reading, but some kids enjoy bath time so much that that can be an ideal time to share a book.

Sing Throughout the Day

In traditional cultures, people appreciated and expressed the rhythms of their bodies and the days and seasons with dancing and song. We do that today when we sing lullabies to help lull our babies to sleep. Most kids love sweet singing rituals, and those habits help them feel calm and secure. There are many other times throughout the day that are good for singing. I used to sing my favorite childhood camp songs to bond with Anna and make her bath time more fun.

Please note: I am not a great singer! I sing off-key and have a tiny range. Still, I ended up being a song leader for our local Girl Scout unit – perhaps enthusiasm outweighed ability. My teen wasn’t always so happy about my voice, but as a baby she loved mama’s singing, and I loved singing with her.

There are also some wonderful songs that can help kids feel more secure and have more fun during chores and transitions. Here are a few of our favorites:

Cleanup Song

Clean up, clean up,
Everybody, everywhere.
Clean up, clean up,
Everybody do your share.

Let’s Clean Up (to the Tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)

Let’s clean up today.
Let’s clean up today.
We’ve had our fun.
Our day is done.
So, let’s clean up today.

A helper I will be.
A helper I will be.
There’s work to do.
There’s work to do.
A helper I will be.

This Is the Way We Wash Our Hands (to the Tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)

This is the way we wash our hands,
Wash our hands,
Wash our hands.
This is the way we wash our hands,
Early in the morning.

(If you like, substitute a day of the week, such as “On a Tuesday morning” or substitute an activity, such as “Brush our teeth”, “Put on clothes”, etc.)

Read more fun, singing ideas from Bailey at Feng Shui Mommy.

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If you have musician friends, all the better, but this is not a prerequisite!

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Don’t forget to check out all the great activities and resources from First 5 California about the importance of talking, reading and singing and how to bring more of them into your and your child’s life.

Please share this great information with others and let me know how you’re talking, reading and singing.

#TalkReadSing #First5CA #First5California

The songs were featured in Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, which contains 300+ fun family activities.

Photos: Susan Sachs Lipman, Public Domain (first photo)

 

 

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