Playing nursery rhymes is a corner stone of minority language (ml) exposure of a young child. However, as a parent, there is only so much nursery rhyme and songs played in a loop that you can take. 🙂
That is precisely why over 18 months ago, I got my then 4 and a half year old her very own music player (a mini wireless speaker with a USB port) for her bedroom. It might seem a bit young but it gives the child a bit of independence and not to be systematically subject to the rest of the family’s musical tastes and mood. My daughter took to her music player straight away. She did not perceive it as a toy and treated it with care though occasionally clumsily. It also suited her independent personality, feeling like a big kid playing her own music in her room.
To be entirely honest, I never came to regret my purchase; on the contrary, I ran out and purchased a CD player when the mini speaker broke (not due to my daughter’s misuse mind; probably too cheap and should have put the price from the beginning).
The benefits in the long-run are sometimes unsuspected but real:
- ml exposure on demand of the child.
- Increase in ml exposure.
- ml exposure from another ml source, introducing different pronunciations and expressions.
- It generates curiosity as the child might want to listen to more material
- In the long-run develops a habit of listening to ml material on their own initiative, without the ml parent having to push for it.
- The habit is likely to be passed onto the younger sibling who generally always copies what s/he sees the eldest do – trust me, I talk out of personal experience there: I just caught my 2-year-old asking her sister to put The Gruffalo audiobook on their CD player… 😉
- It betters your child’s listening comprehension.
- It contributes to your child’s reading skills as he/she can follow the audiobook’s story on the associated book.
- Your child gets to learn more ml songs, improving their ml knowledge but also ml culture.
- It helps your child better their speech as they learn and sing along nursery rhymes – this was actually a tip given to me by a paediatrician to improve my eldest daughter’s speech.
- It relieves you from the guilty feeling of denying more nursery rhymes when you are sick of them.
- Even if your child is not 100% attentive to the music or audiobook, it still creates a 100% ml immersion environment (also read “Creating a minority language audio background“)
There are lots of possible appliances to choose from, based on your child’s age and capacities to handle them:
- a mini wireless speaker with WIFI and/or a USB port
- a classic CD-player (they now often support both CDs and pen-drives)
- a Tonie box
- a tablet
- a mp4 player connected to a speaker
- a computer
The audio content can be drawn from:
- a pen-drive you’ll have compiled with appropriate audio content beforehand
- CDs within reach of your child – do not fear them getting scratched. It is the opportunity to educate your young children to take care of their belongings. And just to be on the safe side, you can also copy the content on your computer… just in case (never had to use my back-ups so far 😉 ).
- play-lists compiled beforehand and available on:
- A cloud
- The computer
- A music streaming website such as Deezer or Spotify
Here is food for thought. Whatever your choice of appliance, this will work as your best ml ally in your child’s bedroom. 😉
Any more ideas I might have missed out? Please share them in the Comment section!