There are numerous nursery rhymes that have been passed down from generation to generation and are all crucial for a child’s development. Most of the children love being told these rhymes because they love memorizing them and even reciting them.
Nursery rhymes are perceived to have an origin and hidden meaning for example the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” originated from the evidence that Mary Lawyer, as a girl, had kept a pet lamb which she took to school at her brother’s suggestion. Moreover, the rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep” is said to have originated from the slave trade where medieval wool taxes were lower than two-thirds.
Importance of nursery rhymes to children
1. Imaginative skills.
They expand a child’s imagination and take the child to an imaginary world for example in the rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” the child can imagine how frightened Muffet got when the spider sat beside her. It makes the child picture places and things as they are in the rhyme.
2. Improves a child’s vocabulary.
There are complex words in different rhymes that the child comes across while reciting the rhymes hence the child gets to learn the new words and their pronunciation making them good speakers.
3. Listening skills.
As you read the rhymes to the children, you are simply telling them a story and in order for it to make sense, the children have to pay attention thereby improving listening skills which will help the child in future.
4. Develop memory skills.
Since the nursery rhymes are easy o repeat, repeated exposure to these rhymes makes the child memorize them hence improving the child’s memory which helps the child later in future.
5. Increases confidence
Increases a child’s confidence because when a child recites the nursery rhymes they are basically expressing themselves hence making them confident speakers and also less self-conscious.
6. Social skills
Social skills are also improved because when a group of children recite the rhymes together they are able to create a bond between themselves because they realize they all have something in common.
How to introduce nursery rhymes to children
Commence with short rhymes which are not very long like “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
Try to use the various non-verbal cues of communication like facial expressions, gestures, eye contact and tonal variation to capture their interest.
Once the child gets familiar with the rhymes encourage them to join in and recite part of the rhymes themselves although it may take quite some time for them to say the whole rhyme independently.
Reciting the rhymes takes place any time it could be in the bathroom, bedroom or even in the vehicle hence try to say them to your child anytime, anywhere and anyplace.
Things to do with nursery rhymes
Clap as you say the rhyme, this makes it a steady beat to the child.
As you say the rhymes, encourage the child to finish the line.
Try to say some of the words wrongly and the child will join in and correct you.
Draw or picture favourite characters or scenes in the rhyme.
Once your child is old enough for example at the age of 2, introduce nursery rhymes to them.