A simple message for parents who want to set their children up for academic success: it’s never too early to start supporting your child toward reading and writing.
ECU Early Childhood Studies Professor, Caroline Barratt-Pugh says talking to children and exposing them to book reading at a very young age will help them succeed once they reach school age.
Here are Professor Barratt-Pugh’s top tips for parents of babies and toddlers:
1. Talk and sing when feeding playing and especially during all those nappy change times!
“Encourage your baby to make eye contact while you do these things. It helps you get to know each other and encourages him or her to tune in to your voice.”
2. Respond to your baby’s attempts at speech.
“By responding to your baby’s giggles, gurgles, cries and coos you can take turns to have a chat to get your child used to the flow of a conversation. Use your child’s name as often as you can, and celebrate when they respond to it.
3. Start reading books together as early as possible.
“Babies love images, sounds, rhymes and expressions during book sharing time. Time together around a book is a wonderful intimate opportunity to talk with your baby.”
4. Encourage the whole family to play and talk together.
“Getting out and about together creates new experiences to talk about. New experiences and conversations lead to new learning.”
5. Have fun with your baby.
“Laugh and talk, copy your baby’s reactions as you play together. Sing songs and nursery rhymes together helping your baby join in.
“Parents are their children’s first teachers. Parents don’t need specific skills or training to support learning. So much is learned through interacting with your children: through talking, playing, laughing and above all having fun with them.”
(Source: Edith Cowan University)