Going to Kindermusik class each week is such a beneficial activity for your baby or child, but if the music stops after 45 minutes once a week, you are missing out on a huge part of what Kindermusik has to offer. If you make a commitment to sing with your child throughout each day, you will notice a big difference not only in his or her appreciation of music and ability to sing songs too, but also in language development, attention span and listening skills, ability to self-regulate, and gross- and fine- motor skills. Additionally, music is joyful, music is soothing, music embeds itself in the deepest corners of the human heart, and is a part of many of our most powerful memories. The beauty of your voice matters much less than the quality time and attention you pay to your child, especially in the first few years of life. Here are some ideas for incorporating Kindermusik songs into your day that I have enjoyed with my 19-month old daughter over the past few months.
When: you need to cook dinner and it’s that cranky hour of the day
We like to: play our Kindermusik playlist in the kitchen.
Try: getting out instruments, including “found” instruments like pots and spatulas, plus dolls and stuffed animals so she can be the “mommy” and do the motions and dances with her baby doll, the same way you do them with her in class. Come Along and Dance or any song with motions like up/down/turn around are really cute with a baby doll or stuffed animal. Also, try to include all family members in kitchen dance parties every once in a while.
When: you have to get from one place to another and your toddler is dragging her heels, looking at every blade of grass, and taking anything but the most direct route
We like to: sing a song that includes locomotor movements (walk, run, creep, tiptoe) and make up words to get her from here to there.
Try: Walking in the Green Grass, Jing Jang, I Like to Sing, Walk All Around, Sing Sing Together
When: you need to teach the importance of not running into the street, touching the hot coffee cup, or getting into other dangerous situations
We like to: practice songs that reinforce inhibitory control so that she understands the word “stop” how to make her body do it.
Try: My Sandblocks, Shake Hands or add the words “and stop” after any song. Also try to reserve the word “stop” along with a serious tone of voice for truly dangerous situations so it does not lose its impact. A fun preschool game is freeze dance, where you freeze when the recorded music is paused.
When: you are playing or going about your regular routine
We like to: describe anything we’re doing by changing words to very simple songs.
Try: This is the Way (“….we take a bath; eat our broccoli”), Roll That Ball (“ride that trike right down the path; wash your hands right in the sink”), Jingle Go the Car Keys / Baby Bells
When: learning to get along with friends and siblings
We like to: keep the play dates running smoothly and practice taking turns.
Try: Bow Wow Wow. A mom in my class sings “Choo choo choo, whose train are you?” to help her twin boys take turns with their favorite train.
When: you’ve been waiting an hour at the doctor’s office and everyone’s starting to lose it
We like to: do some lap bounces or finger plays. They’re active and fun but still contained.
Try: The Dog Went to Dover, Dickery Dickery Dare, Bazoo Bazoo Butz, The Duke of York, I Saw A Little Rabbit, This Little Piggy
When: the baby’s screaming in the car or you’re on that long airplane trip with your preschooler
We like to: sing songs that can go on and on… and on.
Try: Morning Song (“When …. get up in the morning…” with every animal you can think of.) Also, the hello and goodbye songs are great because even babies love hearing familiar names of family members and friends (and their favorite pets, stuffed animals, or inanimate objects!)
When: day is done
We like to: clean up the playroom, then head to the bedroom for a lullaby.
Try: Toys Away. My daughter sings everything from “poop away” while throwing her diaper in the pail to “dishes away” while she waits for me to empty the dishwasher, so there are lots of ways to use the Toys Away song other than for putting away toys, too. Our favorite lullaby right now is Hush Little Baby. This one is also great for improvising lyrics, like singing “hush” to the neighbor’s barking dog, or tucking in the stuffed animals one by one and telling them to be quiet for the night.
This post brought to you by Miss Joanna: “With thanks to my daughter Kira for singing through each day with me, and to all my students who make teaching such a joy each week.”