“Of all the gifts with which individuals are endowed, none emerges earlier than music” – Howard Gardener
Have you ever heard the saying ‘dance like a toddler?’ It’s so true! Think of all the little people you have seen just dancing their sweet little hearts out when they hear music. And it’s not even just dancing at home, it’s out in public! Wherever there is music, especially live music at markets or events, you can always guarantee on at least one little child bopping along without a care in the world. They are completely unphased by what is going on around them and the applause and delight of their audience almost always encourages another performance.
Music evokes a spark and so much joy in our little people and we have the privilege of nurturing this joy and the ability to weave it into our everyday rhythm/routine.
Not only does music bring happiness, there are also so many other benefits for your baby from newborn right through to school aged.
So, what are these benefits?
Listening to and interacting with music and rhymes increases children’s communication and social skills. Lots of rhymes and songs encourage interaction between child and adult such as when performing the actions to finger plays like ‘Where is Thumbkin’ and ‘Two Fat Gentlemen.’ Other songs and rhymes require interaction with other children such as ‘Pop goes the Weasel,’ ‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie’ and ‘One Man went to Mow.’
It doesn’t even have to be nursery rhymes. In general, kids play and interact with others when they are singing and dancing or even when playing musical instruments.
Music promotes connection and a feeling of safety and calm in our littlest bubs. Remember back to those nights when you were soothing your newborn back to sleep and you would automatically start singing a lullaby or humming the tune of the first song that came to mind at 2am!? They rhythm as well as our soothing voice and movement provided almost instant comfort to our little ones.
As children get older, music and instruments can inspire creativity as they play along to the beat of their favourite songs or explore instruments and come up with their own music.
As children participate in these shared rhymes and explore instruments, their fine motor skills are also being developed and strengthened. Co-ordination is built as they play instruments like the drums, triangle and xylophone. Gross motor skills are also strengthened as they dance around and perhaps even choreograph their own routines and explore different types of movement.
Language and vocabulary is also developed as we sing and interact with our little people. Have a read of our blog on ‘The Hidden Value of Nursery Rhymes’ here for more in depth information on this!
Weaving music into your everyday rhythm/routine
Often as adults we get caught up in thinking that we have to have a beautiful singing voice to sing to our kids or that we have to have a lot of knowledge about music to even think about incorporating it into our days but that’s so far from the truth! We need to remember the saying ‘dance like a toddler’ ourselves sometimes! Our kids don’t pay attention the quality of our voice, how well we do the actions or whether we are in time or not. They simply care that we are singing to them and being involved in their play.
So below are some ways that we incorporate music and movement into our everyday rhythm:
Brushing our Teeth
Evie used to hate us brushing her teeth and would either clamp her mouth tightly shut or move her tongue over her teeth so we couldn’t get to them. We started singing ‘this is the way we brush our teeth’ to the popular nursery rhyme This is the Way and it has worked like a dream.
Doing her Hair
Evie has so much long hair that it now has to be tied up everyday or we are forever getting it out of her eyes. This is the Way is such a perfect rhyme because you can easily just change the words to suit the activity. We sing ‘this is the way we do our hair’ every time she needs to have it washed, brushed or tied up and she happily dances along.
Nappy Change Time
Evie is right in the middle of the phase where she becomes an escape artist right at nappy change time. It was becoming almost impossible to get her to stay still and always just ended in her being so cranky and with unnecessary tears. She loves to dance and copy along with our actions so we started singing action nursery rhymes like ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It.’ She dances along and does the action while we quickly change her nappy or get her dressed. We change the words to add in other things she knows like ‘touch your nose’ and ‘blow a kiss’ to mix it up and for some extra giggles.
These are just some super simple ideas that hopefully highlight that it doesn’t need to be a big song and dance! Kids just adore it when you interact with them and think of all the amazing benefits they are receiving when you do just that.
Check out our beautiful range of musical instruments here. Such a cute and fun addition to any space!
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