After last week’s vacation, I am back this week to provide additional blogs in the communication series. It is no surprise that singing to and singing with your child offers numerous benefits. Many parents are aware of the link between child development and singing. Families have been singing together for thousands of years. There are numerous examples throughout recorded history of people using everyday items, along with their voices, to communicate through music.
I remember my mother singing to me as a young child, her voice soft and comforting. Many mothers sing to their children everyday, which is wonderful! However, there are several easy ways to get more bang for the buck when it comes to singing to your child. When I worked in the classroom I was constantly playing music that connected to the lessons. As a Special Education teacher, I was continually surprised my first year by how much the students enjoyed learning through song and dance, and how much they retained. Many of the best teachers incorporate singing or music into their daily schedules. Shy students come out of their shell, struggling students take part with ease, and kids with attention issues have an avenue to get out their wiggles. Singing in and out of the classroom is so much more than words and rhythm. For many kids it is a link between academics and fun.
Below are some supplements to the ways that many of you already utilize singing with your children. Making this time with your child really special, and fun for both of you, is the goal. Practicing language, math, and motor skills is already built-in. Singing is a way to communicate without formality and allows people to connect on a different level.
- Join a music class, invite friends and neighbors to join you
- Host a kids cd swap at your house or play group
- Make a playlist or cd with your child’s favorite songs to have in the car or give to friends
- Make up your own movements to songs
- Pull out scarves, hats, or costumes to act out songs or twirl while you sing and dance
- Make up different words to songs
- Sing before bed time instead of reading a book
- Reward your child with new music or instruments
- Sing bath songs in the bath with bath toys/instruments
- Sing songs for getting ready, eating, going to bed, picking up toys, etc.
- Put on a recital with your friends with songs and dancing
- Use songs to help with academics, concentration, relaxation
- Use different voices/inflections/accents like opera, country, robot, or create your own funny voice to change it up
- Play electronic games like Rock Band, American Idol or Guitar Hero
- Put on some quiet or peaceful music to relax after a stressful or angry situation
- Attend local concerts and music shows
- Play games in the car- whistle and name that tune, or stop singing and they finish the phrase, drum a song that they identify, etc.
Singing is an easy way to get in some fun time with your child regardless of the weather. Plan time in your daily schedule during the winter months to play music or sing and dance. There are many good websites where you can buy kids music. Ask your child’s teacher what songs they are learning in class so you can practice at home and in the car. Singing has far-reaching value for your child’s development as well as emotional and physical well-being.