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Rhyme time

Good for babies and adults

Babies love rhymes and they are more responsive and pay more attention to rhymes than normal speech.

Before birth, babies hear the rhythmic beat of their mother’s heart. Shortly after birth they are conscious of different rhythms and seem ready to tune into rhythms of speech. Reciting rhymes to your baby can often be more beneficial than normal speech.

Rhymes are also great for children, as they will have your undivided attention and with your face so close to them they can imitate the sounds more easily. Your speech is also softer, slower and higher pitched than normal speech, which makes understanding easier and reflects your love for your child.

Most rhymes also include some physical interaction, which adds fun and surprise and gives opportunities for smiles and laughter. Your child will learn about turn taking, listening and joining in, which are all essential skills for communicating.

Some recommended nursery rhymes are:

Birth-2 years of age:

2-3 years of age:


Make sure your baby is in a good mood before you begin nursery rhymes and they should be looking at you. Give lots of praise when your child joins in and personalise rhymes by adding your child’s name where possible.
Rhymes are also great for adults! Saying a rhyme can be an effective way of starting communication and sustaining interaction, as the baby is likely to respond enthusiastically and want to hear more.


When singing nursery rhymes turn off the TV and radio, so your voice can be clearly heard.


Begin with familiar rhymes, which comfort your child and work towards new rhymes.


Remember to make it fun! The more engaged your child is, the more they will learn.