Boost tots’ brain power

MOST people have fond memories of singing nursery rhymes, playing games or reading favourite books from childhood, but many are unaware that these fun moments of parent - child interaction played an important role in making us who we are today.

The big things like confidence, reading and language skills develop when your kids are under three. The Scottish Government’s Early Years campaign is therefore calling on parents and carers across Scotland to Play, Talk and Read with their little ones more often.

Recent research has shown during the first three years 75 per cent of brain growth is complete and an estimated 50 per cent of our language is in place. Studies have also shown that parents who talk to their tots a lot can increase the amount of words they know by as many as 250 by the age of two.

In fact, simple things like singing Humpty Dumpty, kicking a ball around the park with dad or colouring in can have a huge impact on a child’s capacity to learn as well as their social behaviour and chances in life.

Sue Palmer, literacy expert and chair of the Scottish Play Policy Forum, said: ‘’With so many pressures on parents these days, it’s easy to lose track of what wee ones need to grow up bright, balanced and resilient. ‘Play Talk Read’ sums it up. From the moment they’re born, children need real-life play and fun activities to develop their physical co-ordination and control.

“They need mum and dad to talk to them about everyday events to develop their language and social skills. And, they need stories, rhymes and songs to lay the foundation for success at school.

“The Play Talk Read campaign is brilliant - I’ve met lots of parents who find the website really helpful. It just nudges your memory with ideas for having fun with babies and toddlers, while helping along their natural development.”

For more play ideas, hints and tips on how to keep your little one stimulated and to find some interactive fun, visit the Scottish Government’s Early Years websitewww.playtalkread.org