Written by Kayla, from Parenting Expert to Mom
If you are looking for a way to teach your child while doing almost anything…singing is your answer! Here are some of the ways singing can enhance almost any activity and encourage development as well.
- Vocabulary: Isn’t it amazing how fast we can memorize a group of words when it is set to music? Belting out our favorite tune in the car or shower goes to show how fast we can recall a lot of words when set to a good beat. Babies learn language the same way. They need to hear words repeated many times before they can say one themselves. Children’s songs and nursery rhymes already have repetition built-in which makes them a great tool for your baby to start to learning words even before they can speak.
- Imitation: When your little one watches you and starts to use their fingers to make their own itsy bitsy spider they are learning to imitate which is crucial for language and motor development. Imitation of words is easier for children when they are paired with movement. Finger plays work great for children to learn how to imitate because the action and words are already paired together. Your little one will be able to imitate the action first before being able to pair it with a word.
- Routines: Children need signals to let them know when a transition is about to occur. Many of us remember the “Clean up” tune from Barney. It was a hit because it worked! Parents and teachers didn’t have to “tell” their children that play time was over and it was time to clean up. Instead they just started singing the cheerful tune and the children start to clean up while they sing along. By giving children a signal that a transition is coming up we can prevent a temper tantrum when leaving a favorite activity. If you do a little digging there is a song for almost any routine such as washing hands or sharing with friends. If there isn’t one already made then get creative and make your own!
- Distraction: Whether you are trying to change a squirmy baby’s diaper or buckle a busy toddler into their car seat, singing can provide you with a way to distract your little one while you get the task completed. You don’t need any toys to do it which makes it a very convenient strategy to use. If the singing alone isn’t working either speed up your song or slow it way down. Chances are your little one will stop and pay attention to this unusual way of singing and allow you to quickly change that diaper!
- Soothing: Some of the best moments I have had with my son are when I was singing to him. Cuddling up as he is about to drift to sleep while I sing not only gives me a wonderful memory but it calms him down almost instantly. Being able to soothe through singing comes in handy after a shot at the doctor’s office or when your little one is sick.
Singing is a versatile tool that can be used in many situations to learn, calm, or distract. It is one of the most valuable tools for learning vocabulary as repetition is provided each time they hear their mom or dad sing their favorite tune.
Kayla is currently a stay at home mom taking some time off from teaching to learn, enjoy, and raise her son. She is a former Birth to Three Early Interventionist who worked with children with developmental delays as well as coached parents and caregivers on strategies to encourage development. She has now taken that passion and put it into her writing on Parenting Expert To Mom where she shares strategies to encourage learning in daily routines.
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