Of all the many benefits babywearing brings to you and your child, nurturing their literacy skills might not be the first one that springs to mind says Sophie Lovett

It is such a central part of our children’s development: from very early on communication is key to being able to meet their needs, and it is not long before we are bombarded with opportunities to formalise this early years’ learning. Childcare settings promote phonics-based activities; specialist books, toys and games look to bring this literacy learning into the home.

And it’s easy to understand why as parents we are keen to do everything we can to give our children a head start in this area – not just so they can communicate effectively, but also so that they will not flounder when faced with the increasingly challenging demands of school.

Learning literacy through play

But what if a formal approach is not the only way to go? It certainly never sat comfortably with me. After my first son was born, even though (or perhaps because) my background as an English teacher made me acutely aware of the importance of confident communication, I was not convinced that constraining my baby’s blooming understanding of the world of words by trying to squeeze it into the limitations of structured activities was right for us. Instead play was paramount, and as much as we could we experienced the world together, Arthur held close in the baby carrier as we set off on adventures.