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Child Development – British Survey Finds Nursery Rhymes “too old fashioned”

Posted Nov 23 2009 10:00pm

By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist

Sure its understandable that a teenager, or even a pre-teen, might find simple nursery rhymes too old fashioned. Yet a toddler finding Twinkle Twinkle Little Star too passé for his tastes might seem inconceivable. A recent survey, however, discovered that new generations of both kids and parents found nursery rhymes to be out of date.

According to a British poll for National Bookstart Day, young parents these days don’t find nursery rhymes to be of educational value and are old fashioned. Only one-third of the 2,500 parents surveyed regularly use nursery rhymes with their children with almost one quarter confessing to never having sung one with their child. In addition, one fifth didn’t utilize nursery rhymes because they didn’t feel they were educational.

Other key findings of the survey include:
• Younger generations no longer know the words to the songs: only 58% of 16-24 year olds knew the words to Little Miss Muffet; while 74% of the 55 year old and up crowd did
• 63% of parents used nursery rhymes to make kids laugh, and 18% used them in lieu of a bedtime story
• Men are less confident singers: 83% of the women surveyed knew all the words to Twinkle Twinkle compared to only 52% of men
• Some old song staples remained: Baa Baa Black Sheep, Humpty Dumpty, and Jack and Jill were the rhymes most easily recalled

If nursery rhymes were Billboard hits with a top 10 greatest of all times album, they would be, according to the survey, as follows:
1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star nurseryrhymes
2. Incey Wincey Spider
3. Round and Round the Garden
4. Baa Baa Black Sheep
5. The Grand Old Duke of York
6. If You’re Happy and You Know It
7. Humpty Dumpty
8. This Little Piggy
9. Ring a Ring a Roses
10. I’m a Little Teapot

Relics and nursery rhyme lovers don’t despair, developing infants and children both love and learn from parental interaction including singing songs together. If you forgot the words, you can enlist help from grandparents or apply some advanced technology to a centuries old tradition -and look them up on the internet.

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