Cymraeg for Kids is in a very privileged position being able to offer baby massage sessions for new mothers and fathers across Wales during that special and exciting (albeit sleepless time) after the baby’s birth.
The numerous benefits of baby massage are well researched and documented but there are other less obvious advantages. Cymraeg for Kids’ baby massage sessions offer parents the opportunity to re-engage with the Welsh language by singing rhymes and using simple phrases during the massage sessions. In addition, there is an opportunity in the sessions for parents to discuss the Welsh language amongst themselves and with experienced Cymraeg for Kids’ officers.
There is strong evidence to suggest that focusing on language transmission within the family lies at the heart of any intervention to reverse the decline and shift of any minority language. We also know that we cannot reach a million Welsh speakers by focusing on language transmission within the family and home alone. Parents must also be encouraged to consider choosing Welsh-medium education for their children. Cymraeg for Kids encourages parents to increase their use of Welsh at home with family and friends whilst also encouraging them to begin their bilingual journey towards Welsh-medium childcare and education beginning with the Cymraeg for Kids’ numerous groups, and then onwards to the local Ti a Fi groups, the Cylch Meithrin and Welsh-medium education.
The recent Welsh language strategy emphasizes the importance of the health sector's contribution to the vision of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050. Specifically within the roles of the midwives and health visitors. Cymraeg for Kids’ officers work in partnership with midwives and health visitors enabling and encouraging them to share key messages with parents about the benefits of speaking Welsh with babies, the benefits of bilingualism and the advantages of Welsh medium education. Cymraeg for Kids’ officers also shares information and advice with parents in the local midwives’ parent-craft sessions.
In excess of 100 baby massage sessions have been held in the last month across Wales with many parents taking advantage of this free service. Yes, baby massage benefits the Welsh language but the benefits for families and toddlers far exceeds that.
For more information about Cymraeg for Kids:
Cymraeg i Blant on Facebook
@Cymraegforkids on twitter