1. Got Rituals?
Do you have a special routine or ritual you share with your child? A book you read together in a designated chair every morning? An elaborate sequence you run through at bedtime involving pillow adjustments, multiple cups of water, and just one more hug? Probably. And though you might choose to eliminate some of those steps if it were up to you (let’s face it, it’s not), you’ve also probably found these rituals to be really special and effective ways of connecting with your child.
2. Add Music!
Children crave routines and rituals because they’re predictable, safe, and comforting. A playful ritual can inject some fun into a mundane task, distract from an unpleasant one, and offer moments of connection during a busy and chaotic day. Adding music and movement to the mix is especially helpful during challenging times because they make things fun (duh!), and because they can have a very real effect on our mood and emotions. Music rituals can prompt the release of the “happy chemicals” in the brain that are associated with exercise, bonding, and anticipation.
3. Repeat (often)!
An essential part of any ritual is that it’s used consistently, and is therefore familiar and predictable to your child. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for you, there’s no shortage of recurring parenting challenges that offer opportunities for special music rituals:
Choose a hello or goodbye song to sing before school drop-offs, after playdate pickups, or any other time your comings and goings might cause stress. If you’re not familiar with Kindermusik favorites like “Our Time Hello,” you can adapt the lyrics to any favorite song to make a personalized greeting or parting ditty.
A soothing bedtime song, like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” or a quiet rendition of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with its accompanying fingerplay can help relax your child as he prepares for a nap. A slightly peppier version of “Itsy Bitsy” or “You Are My Sunshine” can help your child reconnect after he wakes.
Try singing and marching to a customized version of “The Mulberry Bush” (“This is the way we buckle up…” or “This is the way we pick up blocks…”) to make errands, clean-up time, bathtime, or any other less-than-awesome task or transition more pleasant.
For more music, ideas, and fun, visit Kindermusik.com to find a class near you.