Hands up everyone who has ever been told to stop singing along by your child? Yep, it happens to each and everyone of us who have ever spontaneously dared to sing along with whatever your child is listening too. It might be a film, it might be their beloved Jellybeans Music Wriggly Giggly CD, it might an advert, it doesn't really matter to your child, you are interrupting them in a way they don't like and aren't happy about.
But, they are not channelling their inner Simon Cowell, they are not trying to hurt your feelings - they aren't really old enough to recognise that you will be upset or irritated, they are still primarily egocentric.
Remember how you cheered when your child took their first steps and became a walker? Remember how you supported your child as they worked out how to deal with separation anxiety? It's time to support and cheer your way through yet another developmental stage, the emergence of Independence and trying to stop you doing something they don't want is part of that.
So next time you are happily singing and you are told in no uncertain terms to 'shush', try not to feel too upset or offended - easier said than done I know, I wasn't allowed to sing at home for years when my 3 boys were growing up. As one decided it was ok, singing with mum was acceptable, the next one would hit this stage and it would be back to silence on my part again.
Instead why not try these strategies
- When you are told to stop singing, ask them to join in with you.
- Give them a choice to direct how you are going to sing together eg do you want to sing the first bit and I'll sing the second?
- Let them feel involved in the decision making - "Shall we sing fast or slow?"
- If they really won't let you sing, agree to stop for that track but make it clear you really love the next song and will be singing the next song
There appears to be no research indicating that if your child restricts access to music it means they are either not musical or indeed a musical genius. It is all about independence and gaining control over their environment. I wish you luck and remember like all early childhood stages, it will pass. You won't be banned from singing forever by your small child. Before you know it, they'll be a teenager and you will be banned all over again because you are tragically too old and uncool to sing along or the music will be so awful you really won't want too!