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Parents & Families

This guide offers resources and information for parents and caregivers.

It All Starts With You

Parents, grandparents, older siblings, nannies, and anyone else spending time with young children play a vital role in strengthening their early language and learning skills. Not only are you responsible for their safety and well-being, you are also building their brains!

YOU are a brain architect, building and strengthening the foundation of your child's brain with every interaction. 

Parenting is hard enough. Fortunately, there are five easy practices you can incorporate into your daily routines with your children that will benefit them throughout their lives: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing. 

Congratulations, you are probably already doing a lot of these things!

Click through the tabs below to learn how each activity benefits your child and ways to practice at home and when you're out and about. 

Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play!

Why is talking with children important?

Children are communicating with us before they are even able to talk, and it is important that we respond to and interact with them!

The number of adult words your child hears is important but the back and forth exchanges between you are even better. Even the youngest children can do this: when your baby babbles and coos this is their way of being part of the conversation, so make sure you respond to keep it going! 

What can you do?

  • For the infant not yet talking, narrate their day! For example, what are they going to wear, what are they going to eat, where are they going and what will they do there?  
  • Use wordless picture books to engage your child to talk about the story.
  • Trade your phone for looking and observing the world around you and talking about what you see with your child!   

Why is singing with children important? 

  • Singing slows down language so children can hear different parts and sounds of words. This is an important pre-reading skill!
  • Children develop listening skills that help them hear the rhymes and rhythms of language. 
  • Songs have repetition which is key to early language development. 

What can you do? 

  • Sing while changing your baby's diapers or getting them dressed. 
  • Make music with things you have in the house: pots and pans, spoons, boxes, cups. Clap or crawl around with your child to the beat of the music.
  • Sing a familiar song faster...and faster...then slower...and slower.


Looking for songs and rhymes to share with your child? Try these favorites! 

Come sing and rhyme with us at Baby Time, Toddler Time, Storytime, and more! 

Why is reading with children important? 

  • Reading together with children is the single most important way to help them get ready to read.
  • When you read with your child, you introduce them to new words and help build their vocabulary. The more words they hear now, the easier it will be recognize those words later when they are learning to read.   
  • Reading together increases your bond with your child and can help with difficult transitions, such as naps or bedtime. 

What can you do? 

  • Show your child that reading is important and fun. Be a reading role model and let your child see you reading!
  • Read together everyday and talk about the books you read. 
  • Ask open-ended questions while reading. (Questions that don't have yes or no answers.)  Talk about what is going on in the story and pictures.
  • Be excited about the story, even if you've read it a million times! Repetition is good for your child's brain.
  • Make books available everywhere! Have books located in a spot where your child can reach without assistance.  


Looking for more ways to introduce your young child to books and reading?

Why is it important for children to practice writing? 

  • Children usually learn to read and write at the same time. The more practice they have doing both before they can read and write, the more likely they are to have an easy transition.
  • Writing helps children learn the purpose of reading - the letters can communicate information. 
  • When children draw, scribble, and color they are strengthening the small muscles in their fingers. These muscles help them develop fine motor control that they will need to hold a pencil to write letters and words. 

What can you do? 

  • Give your child frequent opportunities to write and draw as soon as they can hold a crayon. You can also purchase large, chunky crayons and egg-shaped crayons that are easier for little hands to hold onto. 
  • When you write lists or notes, show them to your child and tell them what you are doing. 
  • Engage the small muscles in your baby's fingers and hands through tummy time. 
  • Fingerplays build fine motor skills and writing skills.  


Try some fingerplays to strengthen your child's pre-writing skills! 


Don't be scared of scissors! 

Properly using scissors is a complex skill that takes several years of progression for young children to master, but is an important part of their development. The squeezing and open/close motion of using scissors helps strengthen small hands for handwriting, using utensils, and getting dressed.

Make tummy time a part of your baby's daily routine!

Learn how to use tummy time to strengthen your baby's neck, shoulders, arms, and trunk. Soon they will need all those muscles to be able to sit up and draw, scribble, and write!

Why is it important for children to play? 

  • Children learn about language through different kinds of play. They also learn to problem-solve, cooperate, and take turns when playing with others!
  • Through play, children tell stories, use their imagination, and learn to think symbolically which are important pre-reading skills. 
  • Play is a way for children to process and practice what they are learning. 

What can you do?

  • Play with your baby by letting them grasp a baby toy, rattle, or egg shaker. Soon they will discover the movement causes something to happen! 
  • Playing with your toddler increases your parent-child bond and helps you learn their interests so you can offer them activities they like. This will help increase your opportunities to talk back and forth and learn new words. 
  • Use play time as a chance to talk and help increase your child's vocabulary by asking questions that require more than a one-word answer and by adding on to what your child says or is interested in. 
  • Play with blocks! Blocks help build math, science, and motor skills and are enjoyed by a wide range of ages.  


The way your child plays will change as they grow and develop new skills. Learn more about the 6 stages of play and ways to support your child's development.