Sing and play music

Your baby will remember favourite songs and tunes.  Music and rhyme helps your baby get ready to listen for words and to learn them.

It does not matter to your baby if you are not the greatest singer in the world or you don’t get the words or tunes right all the time.  But your baby will benefit from hearing tunes and rhythms and rhymes over and over.

Here are some things to try:

  • with small babies, try rocking them to a slow rhythm.  Different babies like different speeds, so experiment – this will also show your baby that you are trying to communicate
  • Sit facing baby – sing a rhyme and do the actions for the song.  Could be Incy Wincy Spider, or Row, Row, Row your Boat.  Once your baby knows the song, pause part way through and wait for a response – your baby may laugh, or kick his or her the legs for “again, again!”
  • Lots of parents have forgotten songs and nursery rhymes – there are lots to see on YouTube.  But make sure it is you who does the singing – your baby needs you, not a screen.  If you need more ideas, there are some rhymes on pages 116-125 of play@home Baby – and some examples online here and here
  • Dance around the room with your baby while you sing a favourite tune
  • Try rhymes that name body part for your child to learn.  A great sound track for daily routines would be to sing “This is the way we …” (to the tune of “Here we go round the mulberry bush”) – it will help your baby if he or she finds changing, toothbrushing or bathing difficult
  • Older babies often love bouncing up and down on your knee to songs like “Humpty Dumpty” – pause before you sing “…fall” to see if your baby takes a turn
  • Don’t feel you have to spend your money on special CDs, apps or downloaded songs marketed as “for babies”.  Any music you like will do – but it is hard to beat the traditional rhymes.