I talk a lot in class and in the blog about how music is such a great tool developmentally and how singing together with your child is such a great bonding tool but let's not forget it is also very useful for, shall we say, those moments when your child is demonstrating what a strong personality they have, how they have the potential to lead the free world, ie those moments when a tantrum might be brewing or when they really decide nap time is not going to happen. Here are some of my favourite uses of music in day to day parenting life - and yes, all tried and tested on my boys!
Stop the strop before it starts
Think nothing is more wonderful for your child than to hear you singing? Think again. Nothing, nothing absolutely nothing is more wonderful than hearing you sing about him/her! Inserting their name into the lyrics is a brilliant way of not only using music to bond with your child but it is a sure fire way to get their attention so say goodbye to Polly and her dolly and hello to for example, Chloe and her dolly or Thomas and his dolly
Leaving the house
I remember the days so well when it was a struggle to get out of the house to pick up an older brother from school. Someone always wanted to finish a game or finish a book, the clock would be ticking and anxiety levels rising. But if you make it into a game of either Bell Horses or Music statues, life becomes much easier!
How? Begin to dance your way towards the door singing any song you like then freeze. Your curious child will find this irresistable! Start again and freeze quickly. A couple of more attempts and your child will be desperate for the 'go' and be charging out of the house before you know it. Yes, it's sneaky but it's also great fun
I'm wincing just thinking about this one, sometimes it must be easier to dress a snake than a wriggling toddler. The solution? Make it into a musical game. Choose your song carefully, ideally nice and fast with a solid rhythm that is familiar ie Wind the bobbin up and just tell them they have to be dressed by the time you've finished singing. The advantage of singing it unaccompanied is that you can slow or speed as appropriate so they are always dressed by the end! Don't forget to let them be the singer sometimes while you get dressed .........
Ignore the grumpy grannies, the 'my child would never do that' smugs, supermarket shopping is never going to be much fun with a small child in tow so why not sing your way round? Go on, sing the shopping list. Cringing at the thought? I think you'll find no one in the supermarket will even notice but many will notice your smiling face and your happy child
So you've tried everything to get them to settle. You've read the book, you've sung a lullaby but still they are bouncing around like the duracell bunny. Time to unleash imaginative play! Yes, i did write imaginative play and naptime. Ask them to choose their favourite toy, explain that toy is tired and needs a nap and ask for help. Let them 'read' a story or sing a song until toy is asleep then repeat the ritual with your child, you'll be surprised how often it works!
Make any song into a lullaby
I think I'm lucky that I know so many beautiful lullabies but even so I remember days when nothing worked and I was truly sick of singing 'baby songs' to get my baby boy to sleep. The solution? Choose a song you love and which makes you happy, slow it down, sing it softly eventually humming it as your baby (and probably you) drift off for a bit.
If only one of these ideas makes your life a little bit easier then I'll be happy. Have you got any favourite ways that you use music to make your parenting life a little bit easier? I'd love to know and I'm sure the more ideas we share between us, the more fun and happier our parenting lives become