There are so many different ways that you can add music into your child’s life without much effort but which can have a really positive effect on your day. Why not start by adding music to your daily routines outside of our music classes? Routines can make life more predictable, help make your little one transition from one activity to another and, in turn, help your child to cooperate and, combined with music, can become fun, stress free rituals.
Adding music to your day
One simple way of adding music to your day is to simply change the words of any favourite song and sing the instructions. Singing an instruction can also take away any anxiety or frustration on your part and can actually result in getting things done. For example, “Here we go round the Mulberry bush” could become ‘This is the way we wash our hair’ or ‘This is the way we go to the shops”. Now you know why I struggle to remember the original lyrics of a song sometimes! Another ‘Mulberry bush’ adaptation can be used for getting dressed – “This is the way we put on your shoes…” and when they are a little bit older and asserting independence (or not!), you can reword this to “This is the way YOU put on your shoes”
Six ideas for adding music to your child’s routine
1. Waking up
What better way to wake up the day than to sing a song ‘hello’. A personal favourite of mine is the “Good morning “ song sung to the tune of Frere Jacques.
Good morning (echo Good morning)
How are you? (echo)
Very well I thank you (echo)
How about you? (echo)
As an echo song, you can encourage your child to sing back to you too so you both start the day singing! Once you’re awake, why not put on a favourite up beat song to dance along to whilst you make breakfast – music can make your mundane jobs go faster too!
Another good wake up call song is “When I wake up in the morning, what do I do, I comb my hair [eat my breakfast/brush my teeth/get myself dressed etc.], yes that’s what I do”.
2. Cleaning teeth
The bathroom can be a battle zone in the morning. If you accompany brushing your teeth with a song, you can use it to give direction e.g. “Brush, brush, brush your teeth, brush your teeth so clean. Up and down, round and round [or at the back, at the front], brush your teeth so clean.” [sung to the tune of row, row, row your boat] so that they learn how to do it properly.
Singing a song whilst you/they brush can also be a great way of getting them to brush for long enough – one Kindermusik mum used to sing Twinkle Twinkle four times in different ways (loud/soft/jazzy etc.) and brush each quarter of the mouth along with it! If they have a favourite song, sing it once, twice or three times to get to the required brushing time!
They may of course try to sing with you but you can encourage them to hum along instead or, as they get older, encourage them to ‘sing’ the song in their ‘head’ or inner ear to help them practise their audiation skills too!
3. Eating food
Is this another battleground? Why not try the ‘I like to eat, eat, eat, Apples and bananas [insert new food as required]. This can ease your frustration as you load up yet another mouthful and make mealtimes more playful at the same time.
4. Putting things away
A familiar Kindermusik ritual that really does work! Singing an ‘away’ song indicates to your child exactly what you want them to do and this can be applied to any situation where they need to leave something alone or leave a situation. Some parents have been known to sing ‘park away, park away’ when they are about to leave the park! Pick a simple melody – ideally based on an interval of a major third as it is easiest to sing – and they will also soon learn to sing it back.
Need some downtime? Trying to calm energy levels before bedtime? Why not put on some relaxing music from your Kindermusik collection, dim the lights and signal that it’s time to have a cuddle and relax? Don’t forget that if you relax too, your child will imitate and you will both benefit from this special time.
Maybe you have a special piece of music for bedtime or for afternoon nap to act as a signal. It is not uncommon for small people to want the same piece of music/book/food over and over again as this provides comfort in a busy, changing world. You can also use music to rock or hammock after a bath or before bed to relax. Follow this link to download free tracks to help de-stress you and your child and add some mindful listening to your day.
Music is ultimately a great distraction. It can be useful to have an album (digital or old-fashioned CD!) in the car for those days when you need a distraction on a long car journey or need to change the mood at home. Why not create a playlist of all their favourite tracks which they can put on when needed? Accompanying a favourite song with actions or a fun game can be great to motivate a child along on a ‘long’ walk (how many times have we pretended to be the Grand Old Duke of York!?) or maybe singing a song could be a good distraction at nappy changing time (try Head, shoulders knees and toes to label some body parts too)!
There are so many ways to incorporate music into your daily life outside of our music classes – the most successful rituals are those that fit easily into the day and are ones that you do not end up having to think about. If you sing as part of your daily routine, your child will come to understand that singing is normal and join in too!
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