I hope you feel inspired and equipped to go and use music in your parenting!
Important points to remember:
Keep it simple!
Simple melodies and simple patterns will work best because they are EASY to remember for YOU & YOUR CHILDREN
Use music frequently!
Consistency is the key to using music for expectation, learning, and generalizing.
Have children engage in the music w/you!
Encourage children to remind you and help other siblings and friends.
This will help the children to recognize WHEN music can be used!
If they can help you or another child then they have learned it and will more likely use it themselves.
Add movements and signing with songs whenever possible!
Children learn through music and movement! Combining the two is a recipe for success!
signing can be as simple as waving, using “more/all done,” “please”, “friends”, and other common words.
movements can include clapping, marching, bringing hands up and breathing arms down for emotional regulation, rubbing legs or hands, rocking/swaying, and others.
There are a ton of opportunities to practice routines during the day. These are moments when children learn the most and music can help these daily tasks to be fun for the whole family.
It is important for children (and parents) to start the day of right! Singing is a good way to start! Throw in a sweet “I love you” and you have the beginnings for a great day!
Nap time Routine:
By enlarge children don’t want to stop playing and nap (even though they need it). This can be a source of tension but with music it can be a fun routine that changes the course of the rest of your day! It also speeds up the process with is better for everyone!
Bedtime can be one of the sweetest and/or the hardest parts of the day. Both parents and children are exhausted from a day of work and play. Children are often fearful of the dark and don’t want to be separated from parents. This is a time where music helps the children to:
transition in to a calm mood
Music: sing 3 songs (child’s choice) each night with the lights off after books and bath time
comfort and assurance (see song examples below)
3 highlights to remember: 1) it is time to sleep, 2) don’t worry, and 3) Mommy and Daddy are here
transition to bed and sleep
Music: family song and maybe providing music on the monitor or a bluetooth speaker (lullabies/soft and slow music)
Dressing/Diaper Changes Routine:
This can be a frustrating time when they are very young because laying on the back is frustrating. They have just developed independent movement and then we ask them to sit multiple times a day to be changed…….recipe for an upset child and a frustrated parent!
Make this time fun with a little song that you as a family can sing!
BONUS…..if the child is busy singing instead of rolling and thrashing around….takes less time!
Same is true for older children who are dressing themselves. This is a fundamental skill, but it takes time for them to develop. Give them a song….they will learn it and it will help them as they learn this daily living task.
SUPER important and SUPER frustrating! They have to learn to do all of these things on their own….give them a song!
I promise they will feel better and more independent and you will be less frustrated!
Teaching in seat behavior is important for safety and socially! Cue them musically and it will be a lot smoother!
*See section below (Other Ideas) that has music cueing for “more/all done” - SUPER helpful when communicating at meal times.
Children want to participate and help around the house. It is important for them to learn these tasks and music can help!
Ok! The one place we forget about during the day is the transitions between routines and tasks. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your day! Children want direction. Children want boundaries. Music provides them with both!
The examples below are simple melodic phrases but you can always use a recorded song to provide them a timeframe. For example: when it is time to go to nap you can play one song on your phone or family speaker and when it is over the child knows it is time to go to nap.
Getting out of bed is hard. It is hard for parents….it is hard for children.
My children have a hard time moving from lunch to nap and actually getting up the stairs without being distracted by toys, etc. This can also be sung changing the words to “going down the hall” or “going to my room.”
Going to and from school is hard for kids. LOTS of opportunities for a meltdown. Try using music to give direction and boundaries!
Overall transitions include both:
Picking up/leaving a task or location; and
Going to/changing to a new task or location
The musical theme below can be altered to add specifics for picking up and leaving (picking up toys, picking up clothes, etc.)
The same is true for the second transition for “Going….”: It’s time to go on a _______ (walk, car, bathroom, etc.)
You don’t have to have a different theme for each task. Using a similar melodic theme will be the cue the child needs to know what is happening next and what is expected of them! Both of which are important for providing direction and boundaries!
One of my favorite areas to use music…..social and emotional regulation!
This can be a time when music can be used to TEACH a child an appropriate coping skill and to CUE them to use that coping skill!
These can be used multiple times a day….consistency is best if you want it to work!
Here are a few other times of day where music is SO important!
Greetings, farewell, sharing, communicating “more/all done,” and using music for counting.
This is a song I adapted from Laurie Berkner Band’s “My Energy.”
In this rewrite I focus on different emotions and ways to play. I is fun to listen to and to play with your own shakers/instruments at home. Enjoy!
These are a few of my Go-To resources for music inspiration.
Traditional Kids Song List (for inspiration on children songs).
I use this list to get inspiration when finding a catchy and familiar melody and then pair functional words.
Thank you for being interested in using these techniques in your home and PLEASE email me with your thoughts! I am always developing new information to meet the needs of parents so I’d love to hear from you about how you use music and if any of the recommendations above were helpful! Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!