4 Ways to Use Music to Stop the “Are We There Yet?” traveling dilemma

the musical family car Whatever happened to spur-of-the-moment weekend getaways where you grabbed your overnight bag, a couple of outfits, and a great beach read before hitting the highway? Well, kids happened that’s what. Now, spur-of-the-moment getaways are more like “plan-months-ahead-to-locate-clean-diaper-changing-rest-stops-and-book-a-UHaul-to-lug-around-all-that-baby-stuff getaways.” Anyone else feel exhausted just thinking about it? And, let’s not even talk about planning a trip to Disney World with kids. Parents write entire dissertations about that family vacation—and then Pin it on Pinterest for us all to identify where we fail as parents.

Traveling with kids can be an adventure—and I don’t just mean an adventure in patience. Of course, we all know that every good adventure deserves an even better soundtrack! It appears as if the majority of parents agree! In fact, a recent study by Alamo Rent A Car found that more parents (80 percent) use music to keep children happy than iPads (19 percent).

In our years of travel, we learned how to maximize the music in our car in order to minimize the “Are We There Yet?” traveling dilemma. Let’s be honest. Children communicate that question long before they can even speak: by crying, kicking seats, and general get-me-out-of-my-car-seat grumpiness.

Here are four ways to use music in the car that worked for our family and we think they will work for you, too!

1. Make a traveling playlist. Take requests from everyone and include songs your child loves and songs that you do, too. For our family of four, I am responsible for putting the song requests in order on the playlist. I make sure to equally rotate the order. I learned really quickly that our oldest daughter would count to make sure life the song rotation was fair. During the car ride, our kids love trying to guess which song is next and when their favorite ones will play.

Sing-along songs can create memories as your family bursts out in “Let it Go” (again!) or even the theme song from a favorite TV show, such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates! The car can be an ideal place to connect together as a family through music, just like this mom and daughter:


2. Listen to books or nursery rhymes on CD. Under the age of 5, our girls loved listening to the rhymes of Dr. Seuss, especially. Now, listening to books on CDs is a traveling tradition. Favorites for 5 to 7 years old include the Ramona, Junie B. Jones, and The Magic Treehouse series. (Yes, technically this is not music, but music builds early literacy skills!)

3. Engage children’s imagination through the soundtrack from a favorite movie. We found—by accident—that our children enjoy listening to the musical arrangements from their favorite movies. They love envisioning what is happening based on what they hear. For example, they can identify the part in the composition when Lightening McQueen and Sally are racing on the back roads or when Cinderella meets the prince in the woods and tells him to stop chasing the deer. This was a fun way to listen to a movie and not watch the movie.

Brantley-AfterKindermusikClass-0326154. Create a “Quiet Time” playlist. For longer road trips, we select this music to encourage our reluctant car sleepers to rest. Occasionally, the music will lull one or both of our children to sleep, however it nearly always relaxes them enough to stop fidgeting. We most often play this list after lunch when many children naturally benefit from a little quiet time. Tip: Make sure you fill your car with gas BEFORE you tap into the power of music. After all, you DO NOT want to stop when your little one finally falls under the spell of music and falls asleep like this sweet little nugget!

Enjoy your next family road trip with this free gift of five free song downloads and more tips on using music in the family car!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area who loves using music to make traveling a whole lot easier!

5 Ways to Get the Most from Kindermusik

Thinking about enrolling in Kindermusik class with your child? Well, if you’ve never experienced a class before, you probably have a few questions. It’s okay. You’ve come to the right place! In class, you may already know to expect lots of music, movement, instrument play, cuddles, and giggles that all support your child’s development and your key role in the process. So, we thought we’d share some tried-and-true tips to make the most of your Kindermusik experience and this precious time with your little one.

5 Ways to Get the Most from Kindermusik

  1. Arrive 5-10 minutes early. Most children need a few minutes to transition into something new. Those extra few minutes give your child the opportunity to take off shoes, find a spot to sit, interact with the other children, or even to explore the room. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to connect with other parents in class. You will both find the Kindermusik community a loving and encouraging group!
  2. Dress comfortably. We sit on the floor. We dance around the room with scarves. We lift scarf playchildren in the air, swing them in a blanket, or even roll around on the floor. Your child will love every minute of it—and so will you—but admittedly at times it might feel like a workout.
  3. Follow your child’s lead. We ask for children’s ideas throughout the class. In fact, we start each class singing or waving or running or even blinking hello. It all depends on the ideas each child shares. Go along with the ones your child provides or the way your child chooses to respond to the music or play the egg shakers, etc. Your child’s response to class can range from sitting in your lap pretending to be asleep to running around the room the whole time. We’ve seen it all—and welcome it all!
  4. Actively participate.Your child learns from your words and actions. When your little one sees you authentically engaging in class or at home, your child will, too. So go ahead, sing and dance and be silly. Rediscover the joys of childhood with your little one as a tour guide. Your voice is your child’s favorite one to hear.
  5. Play Kindermusik outside of the classroom. Kindermusik isn’t just a weekly class. We intentionally include the music from class and other materials for families to use together throughout the week. Connecting the classroom learning to those “everyday” moments supports your role as your child’s first and best teacher and makes the learning stick. Take a peek at how one mom and daughter “play” Kindermusik at home.



Kindermusik_GiveYourChildTheGiftOfMusic_EnrollTodayPut these tips into action. Find your local Educator at www.Kindermusik.com and visit a free class!

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.

Hokey-Pokey Your Way through Everyday Parenting

Everyone speaks music – young, old, all nationalities – through lyrics and through movement.  Music truly is the universal language.  As such, music is the one thing that parents all around the world can use to help them get through their day.
music is the universal language for kids and parents

5 Ways You Can Hokey-Pokey Your Way through Everyday Parenting

In the car
It’s easy to stream music on your phone, pop in a CD, or turn on the radio.  In fact, there’s really no better place than the family car to develop listening skills, expose your child to a variety of musical styles, and best of all, create memories.
Need a good starting point for turning your family taxi into a happening, happy music experience?  Click here for your free “family taxi” playlist!
At naptime and bedtime
Gentle, quiet music can calm and soothe a child to sleep, even when he thinks he’s not tire.  Plus it helps block out the noise when your neighbor decides to mow the lawn in the middle of nap time.  Sleep time can also be a great time to expose your child to a little Bach or Mozart as well as those beloved lullabies.
On a rainy day
Music is like indoor sunshine on a rainy, dreary day.  Depending on what kind of music you choose, music can be a quiet accompaniment for play time, inspiration for a parade around the house, or a giggly, happy way to dance the rainy day blues away.  (Dance long enough, and they’ll be more than ready for a nice long nap too!)
You can also take a video field trip without leaving the house.  You’ll love this “Big Back Yard” field trip that takes you and your child to see some beautiful butterflies, up close and personal!
Before dinner
It can be really tough to juggle making dinner and keeping a little one happy, especially towards the end of the day.  Turn on some bright, happy music, get out some wooden spoons and plastic bowls, and let the concert begin!  And while you’re waiting for that pasta to boil, why not take a spin around the kitchen with your child as your dance partner?
For family together time
Whether you have some child-friendly instruments or you improvise, there’s nothing that bonds a family more than making music together in a family jam session.  Or maybe you decide to establish a little ritual to welcome Dad home each day by doing a little dance together – like the Jungle Hokey-Pokey!  No matter how you choose to speak the language, music is the delightful common thread that binds hearts together, making memories that truly will last forever.

The Jungle Hokey-Pokey

Why Kindermusik?  With an expansive music library, Home Materials, and rich resources for parents (Did you grab your family taxi playlist or try the Jungle Hokey-Pokey yet?), Kindermusik classes provide plenty of musical inspiration for singing, dancing, and playing your way through the daily childhood routines that can be made happier and a whole lot easier with music!
Find out more about Kindermusik at www.Kindermusik.com!

This post was adapted from an article originally written by Theresa Case for Macaroni Kid Greenville.  Theresa has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina.

Musical Parenting in the Four Seasons of Early Childhood

baby - toddler- preschooler - big kidWe’ve all heard that there are seasons of life, but it can be particularly insightful for parents of young children to think of the seasons (or stages) of early childhood, each with its own unique joys and challenges – joys and challenges that also have the potential to give way to some of the greatest rewards of parenting.  Kindermusik classes not only meet the needs of children at the various stages of development, but Kindermusik also meets the needs of parents at these different seasons.

Babies… When change is the only constant

There is so much that happens that first year or two – so many “firsts” to treasure, memories to capture, and sweet cuddly baby-sized little people to hold on to, for forever if you could!  Your weekly Kindermusik class gives you the time (and the excuse!) to slow down, hum a lullaby, cuddle a little longer, and share a few more smiles.  All along the way, you’ll gain precious developmental insights into the wonderful little person your baby is quickly growing to be!

Toddlers… When it’s life in the fast lane!

From when they wake up until they fall fast asleep, it’s all about go-go-GO! in the world of a toddler. (Just ask their exhausted parents!!)  There’s a lot of cuteness, curiosity, and personality emerging – some of it you laugh at, some of it you scratch your head about.  Kindermusik gives you and your child the perfect opportunity to laugh together, play together, engage and connect in new ways, socialize, and even sneak in a few extra hugs.  Plus we’ll teach you a song to get you through nearly every routine in your day!

Preschoolers… When it’s time to get ready

Preschoolers are on the verge of becoming more independent, bigger thinkers, social butterflies, and more curious learners.  But don’t let those big changes fool you.  Your preschooler still needs you to spend time with him and be a part of his world.  Kindermusik can be the highlight of the week – the one thing that is predictable, familiar, and yet challenging all at the same time.  Time by himself with his friends in class and time with you too – even the structure of the class supports your child at this crucial time.  We’ll help you hang on to those fleeting childhood years just a little bit longer!

Big Kids… When they’re poised for new adventure

Your big kid is so much more capable and independent, and they are eager for new challenges that still keep the fun, pressure-free adventure in the learning process.  Kindermusik comes alongside you and your child at this special time, giving you a special weekly activity that is a choice, not a requirement.  Kindermusik is all about partnering with you to unfold the unique miracle that is your child, without pressure, performance, or state standards – all while inspiring a love for music that will stay with her the rest of her life.

Parents… How to Stop, Pause, and Celebrate each Season

In a world where the pressure on parents can be immense, we here at Kindermusik invite you to let us help you stop, pause, and celebrate each season of childhood – from baby to toddler to preschooler to big kid – by taking time together in a Kindermusik class.  We’ll be right there beside you cheering you on and encouraging you to relish the little moments of life that make such a big difference in your child’s life.
Come See Kindermusik
See for yourself the difference that time together in Kindermusik can make.  Schedule your free preview class today!

Shared by Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful Upstate South Carolina.


The Family Taxi: A Great Place for Music!

small toddler in carBusy mom and music educator, Lisa Huisman Koops, has found the perfect solution for finding the time in her family’s very busy schedule to develop her child’s awareness and interest in music… the family car. And then she did a study to prove her theory that the family car, or family “taxi,” was indeed an excellent music space for fostering musical development and family togetherness. After all, the family car is one place where families are regularly together a lot!
Here’s what Koops discovered about utilizing the family car for enhancing music appreciation and development:

  • “It is distraction-free from home activities, such as cooking, cleaning and phone calls.
  • Minimal eye contact by parents gave the children a sense of freedom to experiment.
  • Confined space in the car helped parents focus on their children, play games and reflect about what music the child listened to or composed on his or her own.
  • The divided front and back seats provided a close space where siblings could interact with each other through music making.
  • Families also found siblings interacted in singing and playing musical games together.”

Read this recap of the study from Case Western music educator, Lisa Huisman Koops:

Family “taxi” may be the ideal place to develop child’s interest in music

the musical family carAt Kindermusik, we’re all about helping to make great parenting just a little bit easier… and a whole lot more musical.  So we’ve put together some helpful resources and ideas that help you put the music, love, and happy times in your own family taxi.
As our gift to you, we want you to have this free download which includes ten easy ways to make your “Family Taxi” a more musical place that inspires learning and creates lifelong memories. Don’t feel you have to try them all at once, by the way! Even one or two at a time will go a long way towards creating a happy, musical, learning environment while you’re on the go.

Free Download:  Make your “Family Taxi” a more musical place

BONUS!  Includes a Road Trip Playlist and 5 Free Song Downloads from Kindermusik.
10 Ways to Be Musical in the Family Car - Kindermusik
Try A Free Kindermusik Class
Kindermusik International is also happy to extend an invitation for you to try a free Kindermusik class since Kindermusik is the ideal place for being inspired with music and child development tips that help you put a song in your child’s heart… and in the family car!