Diamant-Cohen also suggests using different books to illustrate one rhyme. "If your child sees the same rhyme with different illustrations, then she sees that there are different visual representations for the same thing, and you are giving her an early start for what's called 'visual literacy.'"
Simeon Brodsky, who plans to start classes with his newborn daughter, shared many a Goose session with his now three-year-old daughter Esther. When asked about the fact that some parents may be better schooled in nursery toys than nursery rhymes, Brodsky commented, "I think that's why these other things are more attractive. They come pre-packaged, and you just open them up and stick them in front of your kids. With things like nursery rhymes, I would love to say I'm creative enough to do all of the motions that go along with 'The Grand Old Duke of York.' Certainly, three years ago I wasn't. Now, I can do it."
"Be willing to be silly," Brodsky says. "It will pay huge dividends." For Brodsky, the rewards have come in the form of quality interactive time and even a soothing solution during challenging car trips.
Susan Warren, a mother of two young sons, also has a new appreciation for age-old rhymes. "I think that's why these rhymes have been around for so long. I think parents through the centuries recognize their values and that's why they're still with us."
Incorporate Positive Reinforcement
During Mother Goose classes, you'll hear applause after a child throws a stuffed pig into the air, jumps over a candlestick, or pulls a flannel Humpty Dumpty down from the wall.
"In each of these cases, by clapping, you're setting a realistic task for children and having them develop a sense of self worth that they can accomplish something and that their achievement is recognized," explains Diamant-Cohen. "It never ceases to amaze me that even children as young as three months respond so strongly, to the point that all I have to do is say, 'It's time for Humpty Dumpty!" I'll [put the Humpty Dumpty doll] on the board and children are already straining against their mothers' arms [to reach him]."
To support and empower children when they succeed in these accomplishments, Diamant-Cohen suggests parents strive to introduce new words of recognition such as "marvelous," "fantastic," and even "unparalleled."