7 ways to infuse music in your toddler’s life
Music plays a vital role in our society – and it’s everywhere from TV, radio, movies and theatre. It’s said that from birth, parents often use music to soothe children, express love and joy as well as encourage them to engage. Simply put, music is important in child development but with moving to a new country, it can bring certain challenges in maintaining music in your kid’s daily life. Avenues for interaction can become more limited when living in an unfamiliar place, and structured music classes are not always suitable whilst settling down.
The great news is, there are still lots you can do to start to introduce music to your little ones – even if you are not a maestro yourself.
Play music – this may sound simple, but play music in your home. It does not necessarily have to be ‘kids’ music – in fact variety is often encouraged. Rock, Jazz, Pop all have their own merits and getting your kids to react to different rhythms, tunes and styles will encourage them to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world.
Sing to your heart’s content – We encourage you to sing all the time (or at least whenever possible). Getting your kids accustomed to humming will encourage them to be more creative. If you are not comfortable singing properly, make up rhymes and songs for little tasks during the day. You could make a song for waking up, a bath time song, a getting dressed song and of course lullaby at night. The possibilities are truly endless, and it’s amazing how responsive little kids can be to tasks when presented in this way. Remember this isn’t about being the next Adele, your child doesn’t care if you can sing in tune or not, they just think it’s fun and it will make them more comfortable using their voice and that is what it’s all about.
Move to the rhythm – You know what they say, children learn from their surroundings. You are your child’s greatest teacher and they will always copy what you do. Making moves that reflect the music you are playing will encourage your child to do the same. This not only helps kids listen and internalise music, it also helps their gross motor skills and coordination. Getting children to clap, stamp or even pat in time to beats will also help. You can also make up fun games where you clap a rhythmic pattern and then they can clap it back to you.
It’s Instrumental – Of course, the ideal is having piano or guitars around, but we understand this is not always possible. Percussion instruments can be a great alternative, as well as providing a good start to learning. In order to get kids understanding how sounds are made, and the difference in different types of sounds. We recommend a basic set with things like a drum, triangle, castanets, claves (clapping sticks) bells and a tambourine.
Encourage listening – It’s important to get your kid to listen not just hear the music. We suggest getting them to listen to a track and then asking them questions about it, to help them develop musically. It doesn’t always have to be music specifically, could be a noise on the street, or animal sounds – it’s all about starting to train their ear.
Nursery Rhymes – Nursery rhymes not only often have a easy singing range, they also often help in enhancing language skills and vocabulary. Encouraging your kids to move along to the rhymes or act them out will also help in the long run.
Overall the main aim is to make music part of your child’s day to day life. The big concepts like rhythm, pitch, tempo and ‘listening’ rather than hearing will all fall into place in time once the basic blocks have been laid. Above all, just have fun.