Singing when you’re happy (and you know it!) builds kids’ social-emotional skills

Young children (and parents of young children) instantly recognize the “Happy” song by Pharrell Williams. We feel happy and can’t help but “clap along.” We love this version:
You clapped along, too, didn’t you? It’s easy for adults to acknowledge the “feeling” of happy in the song. However, young children must learn to identify feelings such as happy, sad, angry, scared, surprised, etc. In fact, being able to recognize and label feelings contributes to social-emotional development.

Kindermusik@Home Activity to Help Young Children Identify Feelings

Learning to relate facial expressions with emotions is important just before and during the early school years. For example, when a friend is feeling angry, her face might scrunch up or her eyes might close. When a friend is feeling sad, he might cry or put his head down. If children are going to learn empathy for others, they need to first learn to identify how other people are feeling. Try this sample activity, “How Do You Feel?” from Kindermusik@Home:
Social-emotional Activity for young children_Kindermusik

Singing Together and Social-Emotional Development

Research shows that when children actively participate in group music and movement activities it supports development in all seven areas of social-emotional development, including communication, relatedness, and cooperativeness.

Learn more Kindermusik at

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer 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.