Published on Tue, 01/02/2018 by ABC Life Literacy Canada

The best things parents can do for their child’s brain development


Children begin developing language skills from the moment they are born and the main source for those early learning experiences is their parents. Research has found that hearing a variety of words consistently helps prepare young children for reading later in life and builds their vocabulary. What’s more, children’s levels of literacy often reflect those of their parents. This means that keeping your own literacy skills sharp by continued ongoing learning in adulthood is an important part of getting your child off to the right start so they too can be lifelong learners.

Here are some activities that benefit both your child’s development and provide valuable bonding moments and learning opportunities for caregivers:

1. Have a sing-along: Research has found that singing together helps a child to increase their language development, math ability and overall school grades.

2. Play pretend: Participating in children’s symbolic play (where an object is used as a stand-in for another object, such as a wooden block representing a car) is associated with cognitive and language development.

3. Make reading a regular part of your day: While talking to your child is a great way to get started, reading to them is even better, because it exposes them to new words. Keeping up with your own reading skills also models good reading behaviour for children. Kids who see their parents reading, tend to become avid readers themselves.

Visit for more activity ideas, free downloadable resources and to check for local Family Literacy Day events. Family Literacy Day was created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and is celebrated nationally on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.


Every year on January 27, ABC Life Literacy Canada hosts Family Literacy Day, the largest national family literacy event in Canada. Literacy organizations, schools, libraries and media groups will coordinate numerous literacy-themed events and activities across the country in honour of this special initiative. 

News Media Canada is a proud supporter of Family Literacy Day, distributing public service announcements and editorial resources from ABC Life Literacy Canada to our members. Download print and web ads, PSAs, matte stories such as the one above, and more from and promote Family Literacy Day in your newspaper and website.

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