Google+ Authentic Parenting: Music As A Parenting Tool (rerun)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Music As A Parenting Tool (rerun)

This post was written as a submission to the monthly All About Parenting Blog Carnival hosted at About.com. This month's theme is music and submissions are due March 3rd.

The topic of this month's carnival inspired me to write a post on how you can integrate music in day to day parenting. Not just because it is fun, or educational, or beneficial to your child - even though music ticks all those boxes - but as a parenting tool.

Soothing music
The right music can have a significant calming effect, which can be extremely useful for babies who need to de-stress in the evening, or for older kids to be able to let go and fall asleep, as transitioning to sleep, where they have to let go of control, can be very scary. It can also be a way for you to relax when you are getting stressed out. Listening to some relaxing music together can ease away the dark mood and make you more attuned to each other. You can also sing some lullabies or gentle songs to soothe yourself or your child.

Travel music
Have some music ready when you travel, wether it is by car or any other means of transportation (plain, train, bus...). Music gives your child something to focus on and makes the trajectory seem less long and more fun. You can all sing together. You can opt to keep a special CD or playlist handy for traveling purposes only, to give your child something to look forward to when on the road.
When traveling in group (or on public transportation), music can offer your child a way to escape the noise and business.
Hit CollectionYou can also keep a certain song - or several - to announce your arrival. Put it on a couple of minutes before your destination is reached and your children won't have to ask if it's "still far now" and will know the time is there to get ready for whatever it is you're about to do. When I was a child, an old Joe Dassin cassette was used only once yearly, about half an hour before we would arrive to the camping spot we spent our summers at. It would wake us if we were sleeping, and the whole family would join in singing and getting excited over the upcoming holidays. Putting on that cassette announced the end of a 12 hour drive and the beginning of vacation. (The image is from Amazon, if you click on it and buy the CD, I will get a teeny tiny incentive)

Get it out of your system
Face it. Parenting can be hard at times... Being a kid can be hard at times. There are these moments where you just can't find a way out.
Music can offer you a way out and end the stress that has been building up. Put on your favorite rock or pop or whatever it is that gets the stress out of your body and jump, dance, sing at the top of your lungs. Your child will most likely join in. Getting physical and letting out the emotions will air out the lot of you.

Transitional music
Music is a great way to transfer your child from one activity to the other. It is used in a lot of collective care facilities. You can use existing songs or make one up.
Songs can announce bath time, bedtime or help you clean up.
Establishing a musical routine can help overcome resistance to transition.

Group activity

Image: Bredgur
Music is a great way to get the whole family involved, which is especially handy when you are parenting multiples and you're struggling to get them all involved in the same activity. While other activities can be unappealing for the older kids, or not age appropriate for the little ones. When you're making music together, there's always a way to involve all of them, even if it is just by uttering tone deaf noises or tapping on a pot with a wooden spoon.
A lot of nursery rhymes also lend themselves to physical activities you can do with several kids together. Make up a silly dance.
You can even decide to do a full blown dance lesson with your kids. The steps don't have to be extremely technical. Just make it up as you go. Step sideways, clap your hands, jump up, turn... Be creative.

Hope you enjoyed the ideas, if you can think of anything else, or you and your family use music as a parenting tool too, please share in the comments below.


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4 comments:

  1. We're a music-loving family. Kieran used to have to listen to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons in order to nap.

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  2. I'd love to hear what artists or types of music that your children love to listen to, or if any of your readers have any recommendations - right now my son really loves Ray Penney - it's all instrumental guitar but he recognizes it as our morning music.

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  3. We adore Woody Guthrie here and I've changed some of his lyrics to create songs for baby signing. He wrote some amazing kids songs (Nursery Days and Songs to Grow On For Mother & Child) and was before his time when he wrote the cover notes for his recordings. He said that parents should not just put their children in front of the grammophone and leave them. His songs are for enjoying together and are not intended as a babysitter! He also said that he didn't much care for copyright and that he wanted people to enjoy his music together, changing it if necc- which I why I think he would approve of my changes here and there!!

    Sadly I think that as a society we have become less musical. I was watching an excellent UK tv show recently, called Edwardian Farm, where 3 historians were living as farmers from the early 1900's. They mentioned how in those days, without the TV or radio, people had to make their own entertainment, which generally involved making music. We just don't sing or play instruments to the same extent these days which I very sad. Singing gives me such a buzz and has been proven to be a true spirit raiser!
    Happy singing everyone!

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  4. Yes, completely true Tami! I find it so sad that these days people are shamed when they like to sing or dance, whereas not too long ago it was an asset if you had a good singing voice. I love singing and dancing, always have, and I'm quite good at it for an amateur, but there's just no room for it

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