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Why Nursery Rhymes Are Important for Your Child's Development

I am not the kind of mom who really gets a LOT of joy from sitting on the floor and playing toys with my kids for hours on end. I'll do it some, but my love language is a little different. I prefer to spend most of our "mom and me" time interacting with them by doing things that we BOTH like.

I truly believe that kids have a fifth sense of sincerity and can tell if you're really into something or not. And that can have a tremendous impact on the atmosphere of the play and the level you're able to connect and bond. It's something called 'looping' , where each person's happiness and enjoyment feeds off another. It's one of the most organic ways to bond with someone.

For me, one of my favorite things to do with my kids is to read. I could read their little books to them for hours a day (and some days we do!). I also LOVE to sing with them. We love nursery rhymes, in particular (which are a combination of the two), and there are SO many developmental benefits to incorporating them into your child's life. A lot of it has been formally researched, too, which I cite at the end of this post for those who are more analytical, like me! After doing so much research in the child development sphere over the last 5 years, it's become important for me to incorporate scholarly material on anything I include in this blog.

Here are some of the main benefits of nursery rhymes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers:

  • An Early Love of Reading:
    • Children begin to catch on quickly that these are not just meaningless songs and sounds - they are stories! They begin to see the joy in a narrative and find enjoyment in listening to or reading a story from start to finish. 
  • Social Development:
    • Many nursery rhymes are sung in a social/circular setting. The children see and hear other children singing and dancing with them which fosters a prosocial experience. This is a way small children can connect with each other (since often they are in the 'individualistic/solitary play' phase prior to preschool). We have always gone to little 'mommy and me' music classes or Kindermusik - they are held all over the U.S. in Rec centers or community centers for nominal costs. It's a GREAT way to make friends, too!
  • Word Development:
    • Nursery rhymes have a LOT of repetition and a lot of patterns. That predictability (and repetitive nature) helps them grasp the word by use of hearing the sounds of it over and over - and also often times hearing the word in several contexts. Why is language development even important? Won't a child learn that on his own? To see the answer to that question and the impact of parents on their kids language development, go *here.* Nursery rhymes are an easy and super enjoyable way to incorporate language learning!
  • Organized Speech: 
    • When you hear a nursery rhyme, you can hear sounds and words that are emphasized more than in every day speech. When babies hear these, they are more easily able to organize them into categories. This is important to learn how to speak in sentences as well as for learning to read.
  • Familiarity:
    • Rhythm, tradition, and predictability are so comforting and grounding to children. Having a few songs that you sing with your child frequently end up being staples of familiarity to them, often times in times of stress or feeling unsure. She ALWAYS asks for her Kindermusik cd to be played on drives to preschool. I can tell how happy and calm they make her! They also serve as entertainment that a child can provide for themselves as they get to toddler-age. I have caught Juliana singing a song or two while waiting for me to finish getting dressed or feeding Micah. It's such a great skill and keeps her from whining! 

Nursery rhymes are a staple in our house! We sing them a lot and read them in her sweet stories. At age 2 she had about 20 memorized. We end up switching words out and making jokes, now that she's a preschooler, and she thinks its hilarious. She also grasps meanings of them more which has sparked her asking more inquisitive questions like "why did he do that??".

Nursery rhymes provide such a language-rich, positive environment of familiarity. They are easy to incorporate by either class or personal use! If you don't know very many, do a quick google/youtube search or get a few books! I would also recommend Kindermusik a million times (which incorporates movement - added bonus!).

To see our VERY favorite nursery rhyme book that we got at an old library book sale in Virginia (and which has over 100 rhymes and the most gorgeous illustrations!), go *here*.

For anyone interested in excerpts of scholarly research:

"[nursery rhymes] promote awareness of phonemes"(Rieben & Perfetti, 2016).

"What was important in the child's eventual acquisition of phonemic knowledge and, in fact, reading acquisition, was whether the child knew some nursery rhymes by age 3" (Rieben & Perfetti, 2016).

"Meta-analyses of art education research studies suggest that music activities in particular are strongly associated with non-musical curricular outcomes. Music activities can enhance students academic performance, social skills, and content learning" (Smith, 2000).

"[For children who frequently engage in nursery rhymes,] there was a strong relationship between early knowledge of nursery rhymes and success in reading and spelling over the next three years even after controlling differences in I.Q., social background and children's phonological skills at the beginning of the project were taken into account" (Partridge, 1992).

"Children's knowledge of nursery rhymes can be their path to learning to read and to enjoy reading if handled properly by their teachers and parents. Each session with a child or group of children must be enjoyable, non-threatening, inspiring and challenging for the children. They should be able to feel that their parents and teachers are also enjoying the rhymes, not just helping them because they feel it is their duty to do so. The use of nursery rhymes as a pathway for children's learning to read might be the answer to the present concern, the use of whole word versus decoding skills in teaching children to read, for the use of rhyme provides for both. Furthermore, since children like rhymes, they discover from the onset that reading can provide much pleasure. The also learn that the help they get in decoding and the discoveries they themselves make add to their enjoyment of rhymes"  (Partridge, 1992).


Partridge, S. (1992). Nursery Rhymes, a Pathway to Reading? Nursery Rhymes, a Pathway to Reading?Retrieved January 19, 2018, from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED353539.pdf.

Rieben, L., & Perfetti, C. A. (Eds.). (2016). Learning to read: basic research and its implications. Mawah, New Jersey: Routledge. 

Smith, J. A. (2000). Singing and Songwriting Support Early Literacy Instruction. John A. Smith,53(8), 646-649. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20204857

Favorite Items: Hospital Bag

I'm an aspiring minimalist. Yet, when you have your first baby, you find yourself searching pinterest trying to make sure you haven't forgotten anything that you should be bringing to the hospital.

I looked at some of those pins while writing this post and *oh* my gosh - the amount of stuff some people bring!!! It totally stresses me out. Extra blankets, your own towels from home, and my personal favorite - your own toilet paper. Yes. Packed from home.  This may just be me but there is no way I am literally packing a roll of TP in my bag.. haha!

By the time your second child comes around, you know the drill and you know what is absolutely necessary and what absolutely isn't. For me, having a baby is stressful enough. Carting around a bunch of useless stuff in and out of the hospital really just adds to the stress and really crowds your hospital room. I've compiled this list for any expectant mothers - specifically my own sister in law who is expecting her first little one in just over a month! Here are the items that I have found to be the most important, without any of the extra fluff.

*First thing to note: the hospital provides (FREE of charge.. well, billed to your insurance, haha):
- all delivery/recovery-related meds
- lanolin cream (nursing)
- maxi pads
- mesh panties
- peri bottle
- dermaplast (vaginal delivery)
- basic soap
- meals and snacks for mom and dad
- baby's diapers
- all baby care/creams/ointments/gauze/WHATEVER while you're there

When you're leaving the hospital, you can TAKE EXTRAS of everything they provide you with. Their pads and mesh panties are super functional, and if you've had a vaginal delivery you need ALL the extra bottles of dermaplast (numbing spray). I also grabbed a bunch of gauze and the little vaseline packets after my son's circumcision. When I had my first, my daughter, I was putting lanolin cream on like it was made of gold. Which it kind of is. Grab extras of that. The rest is what you actually need to bring to the hospital:

/ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5/ 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 /

First, obviously, the bags. You'll want as few loose items as possible because you'll have a little baby to tote home with you on your way out. I like to keep everything in one duffle bag, nothing more. That and the diaper bag are the only bags I bring.

In that duffle bag, I have a small toiletries bag that I put a few items of makeup and travel-sized shampoo, etc in.

You'll find yourself laying down... a LOT.. because you just birthed a human. So a book is nice to have, and you might as well make it one that will be useful to you in the coming months of mega-life-change! You'll also want an iPad or laptop to watch shows on if that is your jam.

In the diaper bag I have my wallet, nursing pads, lipbalm, extra hair ties, and baby's stuff. Usually some gum too because some of the meds can make your mouth dry and make you feel like you have some weird tastes going on.

After delivery/c-section, I stay in the hospital gown most of the time, to be honest. With our track record, however, I am always unfortunately having to hike down to the NICU. That would be a breezy walk in a hospital gown, ha! For me, I feel better in an open-front robe and very loose pajama/lounge pants. I also always wear a looser sports bra (front zip if you can find one!). It's nice to have during delivery and after. You'll also really want some slippers or flip flops that you can easily slide off and on.

It wasn't as big of a deal for me with my vaginal delivery, but my nursing pillow was a must after my c-section. I have this same cover for it and I really love it!

I don't put my babies in any clothes in the hospital. They're always getting vitals checked and pooping and whatnot and I just would rather not deal with it. Often times the hospital has them in a little onesie-shirt-type thing. I put them in our clothes the day we are ready to take them home. I like a warm coverall outfit, a hat, and mittens (do not forget mittens! And buy them in bulk like the link I provided - those little things disappear faster than socks:) )

The hospital will wrap them in a blanket which is usually sufficient. I do like to use my own swaddles because I feel like they swaddle much better than the thick hospital ones (which I'll wrap them in on top of my swaddle, still!)

A car seat cover is an obvious must for me. So many germs in hospitals and when you first walk outside with your fragile newborn, even the slightest breeze sets your mama instincts roaring - wanting to protect that wee babe as much as you can.

Lastly, a going home outfit for mama. I like it simple - a black shirt (because you still look 4 months preggo), some loose joggers, and a nice basic shoe.

NOT NECESSARY, but I saw these on a few pins and couldn't not mention them here:
- "Super soft throw blanket" WHAT?? You do not need to bring a blanket into a grody hospital that has 3 million blankets already there for you to use (and that you don't have to wash after you leave)
- same goes for your pillow, unless you have some kind of thing about your 'own' pillow
- "towels for the shower"- spoiler alert, the hospital has no shortage of clean towels
- "toilet paper from home" - this may just be me but there is no way I'm literally packing a roll of TP in my bag. Believe me, you will have higher priorities to care about. ha!

This is just me, but the fewer items, the better. This list is NOT the same as my postpartum recovery list which has lots more necessities for when you get home!

Have any of you heard of anything crazy that people bring to the hospital?


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