Before becoming a parent I could happily spend hours in silence, reading, writing, daydreaming. I didn’t anticipate how much that would change after my baby was born. I started reading to her right away, but I was still such a quiet person that I often asked my parents if they thought I was talking to my baby daughter enough. New parent syndrome, I guess. I had read enough to know that I needed to introduce a ton of language to stimulate the development and building of neural pathways in her brain. It’s a big responsibility! My mom suggested that I simply narrate my actions and think out loud whenever V was awake, so that’s what I did. I talked and read to her and started making up songs as well.
Here’s a clip of an extreme sports alphabet song I made up:
I also did baby sign language to encourage early communication, and it helped immensely. I have no idea how much fuss and drama was prevented because she was able to let me know what she wanted!
She has always loved books and still relentlessly asks me to read the same book over and over until she has it memorized. Here she is at 2 “reading” one of her favorites:
Over the years I’ve continued to instill a love of reading, both by modeling the behavior (I love to sit outdoors and read) and by reading to her. The first five years are so important in terms of development and I feel like I’ve given her a great foundation for a lifelong love of reading and learning. She’s five now and is just starting to sound words out. I love it. She also sings constantly, sometimes we have whole conversations in song.
Looking for more information or ideas on how to incorporate Talk. Read. Sing.® into your child’s day?
According to the First 5 California website:
First 5 California is on a statewide mission to inform, educate and inspire parents and caregivers to talk, read and sing to their little ones starting from the day they are born.
Science tells us that 90% of the brain is formed by the age of 5, and recent research also reveals that more than 80% of a child’s brain is formed by age 3. As you know from being a parent, these early years are the most formative and life-impacting. You want your child to have a larger vocabulary not only do better in school, but are significantly less likely to make poor choices in the future.
The experts at First 5 California refer to the brain as a muscle that needs exercise – and that means “working out” through talking, reading and singing regularly. Talking can be as simple as narrating the day; reading doesn’t always need to be via books; recipes, newspapers and road signs are great (aim for 30 min/day total – can be broken up into 5-10 min increments throughout the day) and singing doesn’t require carrying a tune (First 5 California has a great children’s radio station on Pandora that can help!).
We want to tell mothers, fathers, grandparents and caregivers across the state how much power they have over their children’s futures, and it all starts with three little words that have lifelong impact.
Talk. Read. Sing.®