Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why I Talk, Read, and Sing with my Children Every Day

Growing up, I was always an avid reader and still am today. My mother always took me to the library and read to me every night. One of my favorite memories of my grandmother is sitting on her lap and having her sing silly songs to me. Naturally, this is something that I do with my own children and love the memories we've created and time we spend together.

Although these are simple things, did you know how important they are for your children? Did you know that 90% of your child's brain is developed by age 5? Recent research even shows that more than 80% of a child’s brain is formed by the age of 3!! These first few years are critical for your children and you can set them up for success in easy and free ways! First 5 California has lots of creative and simple ways to incorporate talking, reading, and singing into your lives. Doing activities with your kids helps you to bond with them, create memories, but more importantly it stimulates their brain. Your child's brain is growing at such speed, it's important to take advantage of this precious time and help them absorb language skills, fine and gross motor skills, and help their brain develop!

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One routine we've picked up recently, on top of reading 3-5 stories each night at bedtime (along with several songs), is reading time at our local library. Being on maternity leave, I was looking for different ways we could get out of the house each day and reading time is one of the biggest hits with Eleanor! Each week, we head to our library where we're read three books and then do a related craft after.

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It's so much fun to watch Ellie get involved when asked questions about what's going on in the books and making a craft afterwards really helps her connect messages from the book. We've read books about colors, mysteries, and opposites so far.

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This week we read stories about cows and afterwards made a really simple cow puppet that Ellie loved! She loves showing it off and can't wait to go back next week.

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Another activity we love doing together is singing. We sing all kinds of songs (lately it's been ones from Annie), but our favorites are ones that have coordinating hand/body movements. It's really helped Ellie's motor skills, it's been amazing watching her try to mimic my movements to be able to copy them completely! Some of our favorite easy songs to sing is "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "If You're Happy (and you know it)", and "Wheels on the Bus".

First 5 California's site has amazing ideas based off your child's age- babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. There's something for everyone and has given me some new ideas for Emma to help stimulate muscle strength, motor skills, and emotional growth. I love the idea of gathering different textures around the house such as fabrics or kitchen utensils to help her sense of touch, visual tracking, and hand-eye coordination. This will also be a fun activity to get Eleanor involved with and help them bond.

Be sure to check out First 5 California for ways you can incorporate Talk.Read.Sing ® to your children each day and check out the Video + Downloads Tab at the top right for ways to turn every day tasks into fun exercises for kids! 
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