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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Music Gets Kids into the Rhythm of Back-to-School

Baby with instrumentThere is nothing routine about a routine. In fact, we think routines get a bad rap. After all, people often refer to routines as being “stuck in a rut” or “same old, same old” or even boring with a capital B. However, from a child’s perspective, routines are anything but boring and can be especially beneficial during the back-to-school season.
Routines help children predict the future and feel safe and secure. Pair a routine with a ritual and children receive the added benefits of continuity and connectedness. For example, giving a child the same instruments to play with while you get a snack together each day, let’s the child know that it’s almost time to eat something yummy.
During the back-to-school periods of childhood, routines help ease children through transition periods, whether it’s adjusting to a new teacher, a new school, or even navigating through a growth spurt, which somehow always coincide with a new school year. The best time to introduce children to routines and rituals is NOW.
Turn up the music during routines and rituals and you will never use the word boring again when referring to routines! Try these tips for adding music into the back-to-school routine.

6 Ways to Add Music into the Routine and Get Kids into the Rhythm of Back-to-School

1. Wake children up or welcome them to the classroom by singing a favorite song or by listening to a playlist with songs about the morning time. “Morning Sun Has Risen” is one of our favorites. Take a listen (and look):
Morning Sun Has Risen
2. The rhythm of the morning routine naturally lends itself to a little musical play. Sing songs or chants about getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, or even getting in the car to go to school.
3. On the drive to school, listen to music and sing along! Children will begin to look forward to this special ritual in the morning. Download this free Kindermusik road trip playlist.
4. For teachers, add music throughout the day to let children know it is time to clean up for recess, to mark the beginning of circle time, or even to get the class ready to walk down the hallway. We love how this teacher uses music to remind children how to be quiet in the hallway.
5. Add music to the nightly routine to help children recognize that the day is over and it is time to settle down for bed. Make a “quiet music” playlist and start playing it right after dinner or just before bathtime. Helping children settle and fall asleep carries over into the morning routine. A well-rested child is easier to get moving than a sleepy one.
6. Reading to children 20 minutes a day makes a significant impact on their early language and literacy development. When added to the night time routine, the right book can help a child get the wiggles out or calmly relax a child. Need some reading suggestions? Add a few musical books from the Kindermusik Pinterest Board ~ Books for Kids We Love to the nightly reading routine.

7. Sing a lullaby while tucking a child into bed to signal the end of the routine. You can even rock and sway back and forth together for a little extra cuddle!

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

Music is a parent’s secret super power

Music is a parents secret super powerParents of young children need special superpowers. Forget about leaping tall buildings in a single bound or even flying, parents really need the ability to turn invisible in order to check on a sleeping baby, the power to fully function on only 3 hours of interrupted sleep, and the capacity to do the laundry faster than a speeding bullet! Who knew someone so little could go through so many clothes!?
Music can’t help parents with those super powers (although we wish it could!), but the power of music can give parents other hero-worthy powers. After all, parents are heroes every day of the year—not just on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

4 ways music is a parent’s secret super power

  1. Music gives families the power of laughter and silliness. Children literally bring more laughter into our lives by laughing 10x more each day than the average grown-up. Children can easily find a reason to laugh. Bubbles in the bathtub, funny sounding words, dogs wearing clothes, and, even just jumping off the front step can all cause a child to erupt into fits of giggles. In Kindermusik, we laugh, giggle and even, yes, guffaw a lot when we sing silly songs like “Gang-Goo” or “Sally the Camel,” play or listen to funny sounding instruments, and even share a few knock-knock jokes during story time. Children develop a sense of humor over time as they learn what is and isn’t funny—and when it is appropriate (or not) to laugh. In our music education classes, we support your child’s growing sense of humor and give your whole family more reasons to chuckle. Plus, all this giggling strengthens your immune system, lowers stress, and supports your child’s divergent thinking skills.
  2. Music provides families the power to predict the future. OK, this one is for your little ones…but it certainly helps make a parent’s job easier! Young children’s brains seek predictable patterns to help regulate their internal clock and navigate daily transitions. Routines and rituals teach children that the world is a predictable (and safe) place. Listening to lullaby music at the end of the day, signals to children that bedtime is near. They can predict what comes next in the routine—warm bath, infant massage, special book, final bottle or nursing for the night, etc. Rituals and routines work closely together to provide continuity and connectedness—both vital to your child’s development. Adding musical cues helps make the transition to bedtime easier for everyone!
  3. boy asleep with musicMusic transmits the power of relaxation and sleep. Have you ever heard someone say, “You need to learn how to relax”? Well, they were right. Relaxing is a learned behavior that even the youngest child can begin developing. In Kindermusik, we include an unstructured quiet time with soothing music specifically designed to learn and practice relaxation. Your child’s world can be full of stimulating experiences. Teaching young children how to relax after a period of activity gives them time to recoup and prepare them for what’s next. An added bonus: Children who know how to relax and self-soothe can be better sleepers.
  4. Music celebrates the power of love and affirmation for parents. In school, we learned that following the rules, completing assignments on time, and studying for tests usually equals passing grades. That lesson continues into the workplace where a yearly performance evaluation determines bonuses, raises, or even promotions. Unfortunately, the same evaluation system does not exist in the world of parenting. Eighteen years is a long time to wait for a passing grade!  At Music is a secret super power badgeKindermusik, we don’t think you need to wait that long to receive affirmation. Breathe. Enjoy the moment with your child. You ARE your child’s best and favorite teacher. Every smile, every hug, every kiss is an A+. Each week in our music classes for babies, toddlers, big kids, and preschoolers, we intentionally include bonding activities, such as rocking and infant massage, to support the amazing connection you share together. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers. (No parent ever does!) You do have all the love and that is better than any letter on a report card.

Looking to tap into music’s super powers for your family? Find a local Kindermusik educator and visit a class! 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, who loves tapping into the secret (and not so secret) powers of music.