Answer that Baby Babble to Speed Up Language Development

Hang around babies long enough and you start hearing things. From soft sweet coos to long monologues of “dadadadadada,” babies talk a lot—even though we have no idea what they are really saying! That’s okay. We don’t need to understand all the words (or non-words!) to join in the conversation.

How Parents Respond to All that Baby Babble Matters

VocalPlay_Boosts_Early_Language_Development_KindermusikNew early childhood research from the University of Iowa and Indiana University found that how parents respond to all that baby talk can speed up a baby’s vocalizing and language development. That’s great news for those of us no longer fluent in Baby talk.
“It’s not that we found responsiveness matters,” explained co-author Julie Gros-Louis in a press release, “It’s how a mother responds that matters.”
In this six-month-long study, the research team watched the interactions between a dozen mothers and their 8-month-old babies two times a month for 30 minutes. During this free playtime, the researchers monitored how mothers responded to their babies’ positive vocalizations when directed toward them.
Researchers learned that how the mothers respond makes a big difference in the language development of their babies:

  • Babies with mothers who responded to what they thought their babies were saying showed an increase in developmentally advanced, consonant-vowel vocalizations.
  • The babbling of these babies became sophisticated enough to sound more like words.
  • Over time these babies also began directing more of their babbling toward their mothers.
  • Babies whose mothers did not try as much to understand them and instead directed their infants’ attention to something else did not show the same rate of growth in their language and communication skills.

Bottom line: Respond to all that baby babble!

How to Answer that Baby Babble with Music

Babies love the sound of their parents’ voices. Parents can feed that love and grow their babies’ use of language at the same time by singing, listening, moving, and dancing to music. After all, music is a language parents and babies both understand.  Musical activities, such as those included in every Kindermusik class, help parents engage with their children and be responsive to them. Here are ways for parent-baby pairs and other caregivers and teachers to use music to support the early language development of babies.
1. Engage in vocal play—one of the earliest stages of language development. Vocal play is how babies’ learn to use the tongue, gums, and jaw muscles needed to produce vowels and consonants. When caregivers participate, too, they expose babies to the sounds that make up our language and encourage them to practice taking turns communicating. Vocal play works best when a parent and baby can see each other’s faces, making it easier for a child to mimic mouth movements. Plus, this eye contact also helps parents and babies bond.
Parenting Tip: Sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” with your little one. Pause after key parts of the song, such as “E-I-E-I-O” and wait for your baby to respond. You can also explore the different sounds the animals on the farm make like these families did in Kindermusik class:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsLil1s_wbE[/youtube]
2. Let babies experience steady beat by bouncing to music. The brain processes music in a similar way to how it processes language. Research even shows that children who can repeat and create a steady beat show increased neural responses to speech sounds when compared to other children. Steady beat competency relates to a child’s ability to speak and read fluidly during the school year.
Parenting Tip: Put on some music and bounce to the beat with your baby on your lap or on your hip. This lets babies experience steady beat with their whole bodies. Try one of our favorite lap bounces: Pizza, Pickle, Pumpernickel.
3. Rocking the way to language development. Gently rocking babies throughout those quiet moments of each day gives parents the opportunity to combine vocal play and steady beat—and receive 2x the benefits!
Parenting tip: At the end of the day or after a feeding, hum “Hush Little Baby” (or another favorite lullaby) while you gently rock or sway your little one to the beat. As with “Old MacDonald,” pause during key phrases and wait for your baby to respond. Before too long, your baby will grow into your toddler and be able to “rock” in a new way, like this Kindermusik toddler does at home while listening to music from class!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFP_DVDKezA[/youtube]
Throughout the Kindermusik experience, we use music to help parents engage with their children, be responsive to them, and gain developmental insights and practical tips along the way. After all, a parent is a child’s first and best teacher.

Learn more about using music to support early language development at www.kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

10 Reasons to Give Babies a Daily Dose of Music

bigstockphoto_Happy_Mom_1646790We like to tell parents that they are their child’s first and best teacher because it’s true! Sure, parents may not always know all the answers—like that initial night home from the hospital (now what?!) or when a baby experiences a growth spurt and wakes up every two hours (why?!).
But, thankfully parenting is not about personally knowing all of the answers all of the time. It doesn’t change the fact that parents ARE the early childhood experts when it comes to their own children.
Of course, everyone needs a little help and affirmation now and again…even the experts. Music can be the go-to resource to help make parenting just a little bit easier and support a parents’ unique role in a young child’s life. In fact, we think music gives parents super powers! Music can provide moments throughout the day (or night) to pause and celebrate the parent-child bond and reinforce a young baby’s development. Here are a few ways babies benefit when parents add music to their parenting toolkit.

10 Reasons for Parents to Give Babies a Daily Dose of Music

1. Rocking, swaying, bouncing, and dancing to music develop babies’ vestibular system. This system is responsible for helping the brain understand gravity, gain balance, and develop spatial awareness.
Parenting tip: Put on some music. Pick up your baby and dance. Dancing together will also release endorphins for a mood boost! Who doesn’t need that?
Mom and baby bonding through music2. Steady beat gives children the ability to walk effortlessly, speak expressively, read fluidly, and even ultimately regulate repeated motions such as riding a bicycle or brushing teeth. While young infants are learning how to control their movements, lap bounces allow them to feel a steady beat with their whole bodies. Older babies benefit from lap bounces as they work to keep their bodies upright while in motion, strengthening the core muscles.
Parenting tip: Try this lap bounce from Kindermusik@Home or make up one of your own. Bounce together when waiting at the doctor’s office or at a restaurant to help pass the time.
3. Playing instruments develops fine motor skills. Grasping instruments between the thumb
 and index finger or with a fisted grasp pattern encourages the development of fine motor skills, which babies will later use to hold a pencil or spoon, use scissors, or maybe even play the piano!
Parenting tip: Provide baby-safe instruments for your child to play with in the car. Put on some favorite music and sing along!
Vocal Play - Teaching Babies with Kindermusik@Home4. Vocal play exposes babies to the sounds of language and teaches them the structure of communication as a parent-child pair take turns “talking.” The ideal time to engage in vocal play is when faces are close together so a baby can mimic facial expressions and watch an adult’s mouth move.
Parenting tip: Try this vocal play activity from Kindermusik@Home during diaper changes or when sitting quietly together.
5. Music develops babies’ growing discriminatory listening skills by hearing the various sounds of instruments and the voices of adults singing and humming. This ability to detect and attend to sounds—and to distinguish between them—sets babies on the path to fine-tuned listening and receptive language.
Parenting tip: Go on a listening walk to hear the musical sounds found in nature. Point out the different sounds you hear together: birds, leaves moving in the breeze, dogs barking, etc.
ways to hold baby poster6. Dancing and moving to music supports cross-lateral movement, spatial awareness, eye-hand coordination, and eye tracking—foundational skills for reading.
Parenting tip: Try holding your baby in different ways while you dance together. Our “Ways to Hold Baby” graphic will get you started!
7. Participating in music activities in a group supports social and emotional development. When we sing, clap, bounce, or dance to a steady beat in a group with babies, these shared experiences of synchronous movement help form social bonds.
Parenting tip: Invite friends and their children over for a musical play date. Not sure where to begin?
Visit a Kindermusik class for free or ask about our new solutions for Parents as Teachers (PAT), home-based programs and socialization groups.

8. Listening to soothing music can help teach young children how to relax. In fact, our heartbeats actually synchronize with the music we hear. Added bonus: Children who know how to relax and self-soothe can be better sleepers.
Parenting tip: Make a playlist of lullabies and add to the nightly routine to signal bedtime. 
Kindermusik@Home Songs and Activities for Babies9. Pairing a word with a movement increases children’s understanding of the concept even before they can speak.
Parenting tip: Try this activity from Kindermusik@Home. Make up your own verses to mirror what you and your baby are doing.
10. The benefits of music enables a child’s brain to more quickly process and retain information, regulate behaviors, make good choices, solve problems, plan, and adjust to changing mental demands.
Parenting tip: Sing, dance, and make music with your child throughout the day!

Learn more about the importance of music in a young child’s life at www.kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

How to Talk to Babies When They Can’t Talk Back…Or Can They?

Caring for an infant can be a bit like visiting a foreign country, especially considering the language barrier. After all, most grown-ups—from first-time parents to experienced early childhood educators—are no longer fluent in Baby. Take a look: Do you know what these babies are talking about? They certainly seem to understand each other!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UfFY6PSVu0[/youtube]

How to talk to babies

Even though we may not know exactly what those sweet babies are saying, parents and caregivers around the world naturally speak “parentese” when talking with babies. Common features of this baby-friendly language include:

  • Using a high pitch to get a baby’s attention
  • Repeating words (e.g. Who is the cutest baby in the world? You are! Yes, you are!)
  • Keeping sentences short
  • Exaggerating syllables and words

New research from the University of Washington indicates that using parentese with babies actually encourages them to try and imitate what they hear! In the study of fifty-seven 7- and 11- or 12-month old babies each child listened to a series of native and foreign language syllables while the researchers observed their brain activity. As expected, the researchers noted brain activity in an auditory area of the brain, however, they also observed activity in the parts of the brain responsible for planning the motor movements required for producing speech.
“Most babies babble by 7 months, but don’t utter their first words until after their first birthdays,” said lead author Patricia Kuhl, in a press release. “Finding activation in motor areas of the brain when infants are simply listening is significant, because it means the baby brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the start and suggests that 7-month-olds’ brains are already trying to figure out how to make the right movements that will produce words.”
These findings suggest that the exaggerated characteristics of parentese makes it easier for babies to model the motor movements required to speak. Bottom line: Keep talking to babies!

Babytalk Tips from Your Mother Goose

Kindermusik@Home Nursery RhymesAs the mother of all nursery rhymes, Mother Goose knows a thing or two about talking to babies. With their rhymes and rhythms, nursery rhymes “wire” the brain for communication before speech even begins. It’s one of the reasons we include nursery rhymes in our early childhood curriculum.
Try these tips from Kindermusik@Home to talk to the babies in your life! Repeating these activities helps increase language acquisition and retention.

Find out more about Kindermusik at www.Kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

Babies: Dancing their way to friendship

Dancing BabiesBefore social media, making friends and maintaining relationships involved more than clicking yes to a “Friend Request” or commenting on a status update. (Well, technically it still does.) To be a good friend, regardless of age, we need to share, use our “kind and polite words,” take turns, show empathy, listen, practice conflict resolution—essentially put into practice all those skills that make a good friend.

Dancing with babies form social bonds

Learning how to be a good friend takes practice and guidance. The first seven years of a child’s life present unique and lasting moments for laying the groundwork for healthy social development. Each week in our music classes, we provide many opportunities for children as young as newborns to practice cooperation, turn taking, active listening, paying attention, and other key social development skills that help children grow to be a socially confident and adept people.
Of course, we also dance, bounce to a steady beat, and move around in response to music a lot. Now new research indicates that all of that moving around together with young children positively affects their social behavior.
“Moving in sync with others is an important part of musical activities,” explains Laura Cirelli,  lead author of an upcoming article in the journal Developmental Science. “These effects show that movement is a fundamental part of music that affects social behavior from a very young age.”
In the study, the team worked with 68 babies to determine if bouncing to music with another person makes a baby more likely to help the other person following the musical activity. Dancing in pairs, one adult held a baby facing outward toward another adult. Both adults and the baby gently bounced to the music. Some of the babies bounced at the same tempo as the adult across from them while others bounced at a different tempo. Afterwards, the babies who bounced to music at the same tempo as both adults were more likely to pick up an object “accidently” dropped by the other adult when compared to the babies moving at a different tempo.
The research implies that when we sing, clap, bounce or dance to a steady beat to music with babies, these shared experiences of synchronous movement help form social bonds between us and our babies. Or, to put it simple: Babies can literally dance their way to friendship!

Peas & Carrots Kindermusik@HomeFind a local Kindermusik educator and experience for yourself how our music classes for babies, toddlers, preschools, big kids, and families teaches vital life skills, including learning how to be a friend. 

In the meantime, enjoy this free music and movement activity  from Kindermusik@Home. It will get you and your little one dancing in various ways together—supporting social skills and parent-child bonding.
Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

3,600+ ways to build a healthy parent-child bond in a baby's first year

mom and baby engage in conversation3,600. That’s the approximate number of times a baby needs a diaper change in the first year alone. (Yowser! That’s a lot of diapers.) Of course, every diaper change satisfies the physical needs of a baby, but it also meets a baby’s developing social and emotional needs. Every time a baby cries and a parent responds to the need, it strengthens the vital parent-child connection. Building an attachment and a sense of trust not only lays a solid foundation of social and emotional development but also primes a baby’s brain for learning.

Strong healthy parent-child bonds as infants help children make friends

Researchers from the University of Illinois recently published a study in the journal of Developmental Psychology that showed young children with strong parent-child bonds tend to be more responsive and adaptable when meeting—and playing with—other children. They also tend to be more sympathetic to the needs and moods of other children.
In the study, the team measured the security of child-mother bonds for 114 children who were 33 months old. As part of the study, the parents reported on their child’s temperament, such as propensity towards anger or social fearfulness. Then when the children reached 39 months old, the researchers paired same-gender children and observed them playing together over three laboratory visits in the course of a month.
“Securely attached kids were more responsive to a new peer partner the first time they met,” explained Dr. Nancy McElwain in a press release. “A more securely attached child was also likely to use suggestions and requests rather than commands and intrusive behavior (such as grabbing toys away) during play with an anger-prone peer during the first two visits.”
The researchers believe that toddlers and preschoolers who develop strong bonds with their parents learn early on that their needs matter and confidently express themselves.

Kindermusik supports strong parent-child bonds from birth

Building healthy parent-child bonds starts in infancy. In our music classes Kindermusik@Home Holding Babyfor babies (for all ages actually!), we create many moments to strengthen and celebrate this vital parent-child connection. Every time a parent sings lovingly to a wee one, the bond grows stronger. With each intentional and gentle touch, rock, or lap bounce, the bond grows stronger.  And every time a caregiver gazes into a child’s eyes and smiles during tummy time, the bond grows stronger. As babies grow, this sense of security—and trust—gives little ones the confidence to explore new environments, try new things, and make new friends.
 
Enjoy this free activity from Kindermusik@Home that supports parent-child bonds.

Contact your local Kindermusik educator to experience for yourself how music creates healthy parent-child bonds.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

4 benefits of music for babies

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Nothing really prepares a person for the season of life called Parenting. It’s one of those things that no one really tells you. After all, parenting feels a bit like playing a game where the rules change constantly. For example, shortly after mastering the perfect origami-like swaddle, your child no longer needs it to sleep through the night. Or maybe you finally figured out how the straps on the stroller work but now your little one insists on crawling or walking everywhere. Sometimes just when you think you got it figured out, baby number 2 arrives on the scene and well, it changes again! One rule will never change: A parent is a child’s first and best teacher.
In Kindermusik, we celebrate the unique role a parent plays in a child’s life and the life-altering benefits of music throughout each season of parenting and childhood. In fact, even the youngest baby learns through music. One study showed that babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better, are easier to soothe, and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music. That’s not all. Here are four more benefits of music for babies.

4 benefits of music for babies

1. Music supports the early stages of language development.
Contrary to what babies sound like at times, they are not turning into a pterodactyl, a creature from the Amazon rainforest, or a boat. When we hear babies exploring the wide-range of noises possible with the human voice, mouth, and tongue, they are actually engaging in play—vocal play to be specific. Cooing, babbling, blowing raspberries and, well, screeching like a pterodactyl are all part of it.
BenefitsOfKindermusik_BabyMusicClasses_InfographicVocal play is one of the early stages of language development and parents play a pivotal role. In class, we create many opportunities for vocal play to happen. A baby and caregiver engage in vocal play by touching, gazing, observing, listening, and imitating. All of this vocal play support’s a child’s vocal development by encouraging breath control, the use of the vocal cords, and the coordination of the small muscles in the face and mouth. Plus, the pausing and waiting during vocal play teaches a baby conversational turn-taking.
2. Music helps babies experience patterns. During the first several months of life, babies follow a predictable pattern. Eat. Sleep. Diaper change. Eat. Sleep. Diaper change. Mathematicians call that an A-B-C pattern. Parents call it the “will-I-ever-sleep-again” pattern. (Spoiler alert: You will…one day!) Patterns help babies connect to and learn about the world. From recognizing the facial pattern of two eyes, a nose, and a mouth to hearing the vocal patterns of the common language spoken at home to even responding to the day-and-night pattern and eventually sleeping longer at night (really)!
Babies and young children who learn to identify patterns strengthen their sense of safety and feel happier and more relaxed because they can better predict what happens next. Plus, a solid understanding of patterns eventually leads to success in school, especially in math, science, and reading. Each week in class, babies experience patterns through rhythm and meter, tempo contrasts, dances, language and vocal play and the routine of the lesson flow.
3. Music and movement provide opportunities for fine- and gross-motor skills development
Babies grow by leaps and bounds their first year—or more accurately by grasps and scoots. One minute you hold a newborn who reflexively grasps your finger. Seemingly, the next minute your little baby intentionally reaches up to touch your nose. Whether reaching for a nose, lifting a head during tummy time, clapping, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or walking, a baby exerts tireless hours to learning how to intentionally move.
Each week in class, we provide many opportunities for a baby to engage in fun, musical activities that support and strengthen each stage of a child’s movement development. From tummy time to playing with baby-safe instruments to gently bouncing a baby in a caregiver’s lap, class activities will support the development of the small and large muscles as well as coordination for more complex movements like eventually kicking a ball, jumping, and even writing.
4. Music helps babies gain active listening skills.
Do you ever just stop and really listen to your surroundings? It’s kind of noisy. You might hear the sounds of music, television commercials, the humming of the refrigerator or air conditioner, birds singing, cars driving by, wind blowing, phones buzzing, coffee maker brewing, microwave dinging, someone talking, and more. Thankfully, as an adult, you know how to tune in to the sounds that matter most. Babies do not. In fact, young babies hear most of it—including the more than 300 different phonemes, tones, and clicks used to express every single language in the world!
At Kindermusik, we know babies need to learn how to tune in to the sounds and language most needed in their daily lives. In fact, a baby can already distinguish the sound of a parent’s voice from everyone else’s voice. In class each week, we enhance a baby’s growing discriminatory listening skills when we listen to and imitate different animal noises, the various sounds of instruments, and the voices of adults singing and humming. This ability to detect and attend to sounds, and to distinguish between them, sets a baby on the path to fine-tuned listening and receptive language.

For parents too!

Dad and baby babbling and bonding in KindermusikBecoming a parent turns a person’s world (and social calendar) upside down and inside out. A person moves from lengthy conversations over dinner to brief chats scheduled around naptimes. Eventually, a parent progress to speaking in short sentences interrupted by wardrobe and diaper changes, boo-boo kissing, rocking, sharing interventions, and a few paparazzi moments. (Children do the cutest things after all!).
When enrolling in Kindermusik, many parents list “socialization” as one of the reasons. We do help children develop social and emotional skills, but we also connect grownups with parents and caregivers who understand the unique joys and challenges of parenting a child the same age. In Kindermusik class, parents often make lasting connections of their own with the grownup sitting next to them or changing a diaper or kissing a boo-boo or experiencing a paparazzi moment, too.

Experience for yourself the benefits of music for babies (and parents!). Contact a local Kindermusik educator and visit a class!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

Thanksgiving song and activities: Over the River and Through the Woods

Do you remember this song?

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother’s house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.

It’s hard to say when this famous American poem became so synonymous with the Christmas holiday, but the tune truly belongs to Thanksgiving.

Written by journalist, poet, and human rights advocate Lydia Maria Child, the poem first appeared in Child’s Flowers for Children, Volume 2, in 1844.

It was originally titled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day,” and celebrates Child’s childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather’s house.

As an advocate for Native American rights, anti-slavery laws, and women’s voting rights, Child raised her voice on many issues flaring in the in the 1840s, but refused to raise a fist. Her writings urged people to find a peaceful, non-violent way to progress.

The song can be a great holiday tradition for your family, too. We’ve put together a few simple ways to adapt the song to your child’s learning ability.

Learn more about helping families create musical traditions together in online Kindermusik Educator training. Click here to receive FREE information on becoming a Kindermusik Educator.

Baby (newborn to 2)

Hold your baby close and bounce in rhythm to the music, or pat the steady beat of the song on her back as you sing the song. Studies show a baby prefers the sound of her mother’s voice, and the sound of your voice paired with rhythm of the words – as you gently rock baby, or pat her on the back – helps your baby begin to identify the patterns of language.

Toddler (2 to 3 years)

The “giddy-up” tempo of this song makes it a great lap bounce for toddlers. Exaggerate the movement words, and make the weather and animal sounds mentioned in the lyrics to help your toddler better connect the vocabulary word to the physical movement.

Preschool (3 to 5 years)

Sing the song together and ask your preschooler to draw a picture of the story, and act it out: Pretend to ride a sled, ride through the wind, and ring bells!

Big Kids (5 to 7)

Engage your big kid’s active imagination and write your own lyrics about your family’s Thanksgiving tradition. Use the “Over the River” melody with lyrics about your own journey to Grandma’s house. What do you see? What does the weather do? Do you go over a river? Write your own lyrics.

Click here to see the long and short form of the lyrics.

play.kindermusik.com

Play Kindermusik @Home

Talk with your family about the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday. You’ll find several folk and Americana songs in this collection of Kindermusik songs, “America the Musical Vol. 1 and 2.” Lydia Maria Child would have loved the song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song used to help people find the Underground Railroad.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

The Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye

Music for Halloween Knights, Princesses, Engineers, and more!

Are you having a Halloween Party for your Kindermusik or ABC English & Me classes? We have a few albums and songs in mind to help you and your little ones enjoy a little musical play with their holiday costumes — and here’s the trick: sneak in a little musical learning along the way!

Sir Henry the Polite Knight

The Polite Knight

He might be shaking under his armor, but Sir Henry the Polite Knight always uses good manners. You can find out how to make an easy, no-sew costume here, and play the Knight-themed music while you and your little one get ready for Halloween!

Listen to song samples and download the music on play.kindermusik.com

Rupert the Wrong Word Pirate

Rupert the Wrong Word Pirate

Pirate costumes are always a favorite around Halloween, and with a few pirate-themed songs sung in English, you can help your little pirate capture a treasure chest full of fun, music, and stories in English. And don’t worry, Rupert always uses the wrong word, too, but that’s how he learns! Look here for a simple no-sew pirate costume and “Ahoy! Mateys! Trick or Treat!”

Listen to song samples and download the music on play.kindermusik.com

Tressa the Magical Princess

Tressa the Magical Princess

Almost no one in Tressa’s family believes she’s a princess, until she uses her magical princess powers to quiet down a crying baby brother! Find some princess themed stories, songs, and activities to lend a little musical magic to your child’s no-sew princess costume.

Listen to song samples and download the music on play.kindermusik.com

10 in the Bed

Favorite Farm Animals

Find more songs about farm animals and animal-themed games in “Old Macdonald.” Find some super easy, no-sew animal themed costumes and play simple counting games, sing songs together, and make animal noises while you go from house to house.

Listen to song samples and download the music on play.kindermusik.com

All Aboard!

Calling all Airplane Pilots and Engineers

Transportation-themed sound effects abound when you search for music by the “transportation” theme in the online music store.

Listen to song samples and download the music on play.kindermusik.com

Meet a Kindermusik educator: Aimee Carter

Name:
Aimee Carter

Location:
Brandon, Florida

Studio name and link:
Delightful Sounds
www.delightfulsounds.com

Number of years you’ve taught Kindermusik:
7

Describe yourself in five words or less:
Creative, fun, energetic, and silly

Favorite Kindermusik song:
The Morning Song, because I like coming up with crazy animal sounds for the unexpected, animal choices like manatees or hippos.

Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why:
Anything with bilibos. I love all the ways we can play with them!

A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom:
I love getting to see all the first steps and first words along with the parents. I get pretty excited about seeing the children grow and learn.

Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.):
The children have really helped me become even more creative. They can really get outside of the box sometimes, and I LOVE that!

Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom:
The preschoolers crack me up. I never know what they will say or do next. Last week, one of the children stopped me in the middle of a song to ask “if I ever had fire come out of my butt?” LOL I never could figure out what it had to do with the train song???

The reason you teach:
I am passionate about music and the development of children. Kindermusik allows me to combine both of these as I work side by side with such wonderful families each week!

Sometimes ACTIONS are louder than WORDS

Have you ever sat in a movie theater, and several people in the row behind you are all talking? I bet you found it difficult to concentrate on the movie.

What does this have to do with your child in a Kindermusik class? Just imagine this scenario: your Kindermusik teacher brings out a basket of rhythm sticks and sings “two for you and two for your grownup”. Most of the grownups in the room start encouraging their child to go get the sticks. They encourage them with their voices and now we hear 10 adults telling their child to go get sticks. At this point, some of the children will start to “tune you out”. I like to call this “selective hearing loss”. (I have teens at home and I am very familiar with this temporary, albeit sometimes annoying ailment.)

Although we highly encourage you to talk to your child throughout the day and label movements, sounds, and objects to help with language acquisition, there are times when we have to allow them to figure out what to do without being told. Allow them to problem solve.

I want to share with you an experiment we did in a few of my classes. I asked the adults not to give directions to their child during this class – just sing when it was appropriate in the lesson. The toughest part was the “no talking”. But they all agreed and were curious to witness their child in this somewhat altered environment. I encouraged them to guide their little one by being a model and using non-verbal cues.

Here is what some of the adults said at the end of class:
* They showed more patience
* They were more “in the moment” with their children
* Their children were more attentive and focused
* Their children felt freer to create, explore, and express themselves

Try a version of this experiment at home. Take time to explore with your child without giving them opinions or directions. Be a model for them through your actions and not your words. It’s not easy, but it may allow you to be “in the moment” with your child in a way you have not been before.

Special thanks to Kindermusik educator Cathy Huser for sharing this insightful post from her blog.  Cathy’s program, Kindermusik of Cleveland, has been a top ten Kindermusik Maestro program for 10 years running.