5 Musical Ways to Manage Holiday Meltdowns

A mom uses gentle rocking to comfort her toddler during a meltdown.

Ah, the holidays—a time of rest, joyous family gatherings, and the harmonious sound of…meltdowns.

The reality is that this season often adds stress to families, especially for its youngest members.

Different schedules, new places, travel times, rich foods, family photos, and general overstimulation affect everything from mealtime to bedtime, which can contribute to not-so-merry meltdowns.

While grownups have the ability to command self-control faster, the brain’s pre-frontal cortex (where this function is typically associated) is not fully developed until adulthood. Additionally, relaxation is a learned behavior, which is why trying to reason with a toddler during a tantrum doesn’t usually work.

So, in the midst of holiday chaos, it’s important to gently teach children how to relax. Music and movement are some of the best tools out there to help little ones reset, recoup, and get ready for the next event.

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3 Ways to Build Grownup Social-Emotional Growth

A mom dances and builds social-emotional growth with her daughter in a Kindermusik class.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for children has been a huge focus in early childhood development over the past 10 years, but what about “Grownup Social-Emotional Growth?” It turns out, it’s just as critical for parents and caregivers to fill this specific brain bucket on a daily basis.

Not to be confused with a fancy face mask or a day at the beach, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”  

And while it can be hard to focus with little ones around, it’s important to recognize that parents and caregivers shouldn’t put social-emotional growth on hold for alone time.

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3 Ways to Enhance Phonemic Awareness with Music

Mom and toddler son sing songs together to boost phonemic awareness

You’ve probably heard the word phonics, but what exactly is phonemic awareness? Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds—phonemes—in spoken words, a crucial pre-reading and speech skill.

Research shows that programs focused on phonemic and phonological awareness significantly increase children’s reading abilities in early years, and can be further enhanced by music. What does this look like at home? Here are a few things you can do that sound like learning, but feel like fun!

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Simple Gifts for Kids: Batteries Not Required

Sandblocks and other handheld instruments are perfect gifts for older toddlers.

Is your head spinning in a whirlpool of holiday ads? Remember this: simple gifts for kids will keep on giving.

Between Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday savings, and all the other holiday sales, it’s hard to research before you buy. The one piece of research you can always count on?Simple toys are BEST for early childhood development.

Stay stress-free this season with our Top 5 Tips for Buying the Perfect Simple Gifts for Kids.

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Why Music Is Better Than White Noise for Babies

Music is better than white noise for babies

Everyone loves to watch a sleeping infant, but is white noise for babies the best environment for these peaceful moments?

Research tells us no, and here’s why – your baby’s auditory system is hard at work, and sleep aids like white noise can send it into overdrive.

Our auditory system is the first to develop and the last to stop. It is almost fully developed at 16 weeks in utero. So, when your baby is born, they already have 5 months’ experience in processing sound.

Before we look at why soothing, patterned sounds like music are better than white noise for babies, it’s important to understand how the auditory system works.

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5 Ways Music Positively Impacts Children with Hearing Loss

5 Ways Music Positively Impacts Children with Hearing Loss

Music is vital in the development of all young children, including children with hearing loss.

How do I know? I live it every day.

I’m someone with total hearing loss in one ear.

I’m a music educator who works with hearing-impaired children (at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, MO).

And I’m a mom of a child with severe hearing loss who, with the help of bilateral cochlear implants and years of music education, has now successfully transitioned to mainstream school.

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Why Music In Schools Post COVID Is Critical

Why Music In Schools Post COVID Is Critical

Remember when music in schools campaigns really took off in the 90s? The quest to make music a standard part of the  “3 Rs:” Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, still isn’t over.

Wait…only one of those starts with an R!

Aside from the letter discrepancy, the narrow focus of the 3Rs is outdated. So, how can we get all schools on board with a modernized view of early learning?

First, we need a new acronym. And here’s why music should get its own letter.

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How Imaginary Friends Help COVID-Era Kids

Is your child conversing with an imaginary friend or stuffed animal? That's a good thing.

Does your child have imaginary friends? Wondering if it’s a positive or a negative phase? Let me tell you a story…

My mother grew up in a small southern US town in the 1940s, when polio was rampant. My grandparents, who were older and struggled to have a child, were naturally fearful of the disease and scared to lose her. So, Mom wasn’t allowed to play with other children very often.

Except for one.

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