Making Music with Your Kids
Making music together is one of the best things you can do to support your child’s development. Active music exploration promotes motor, social, cognitive, and communication skills, while also being a fun and meaningful way to bond.
Everyone can make music. You don’t need to be a trained musician or even consider yourself "musical." Many parents worry that their voice isn’t good enough or that they don’t have the natural talent to make music with their kids. Don’t worry! Your child will love making music together just because you are you.
Parents sing to their children in every culture. We all sing to infants in order to soothe and calm them. It is a meaningful, bonding experience that combines focused attention, eye contact, and familiar voice. At this young age, the exact words matter little, so don’t worry if you forget the lyrics. Even better, just make up your own!
As your child gets older, making up little songs and ditties together is a fun way to connect and share. Improvise simple songs as you get dressed, eat lunch, or clean up. The more music is a natural part of your day, the less you will feel self conscious about it. Toddlers and preschoolers love both repetition and surprise. They will delight in hearing you take a familiar song and change the words to something silly- try “Mary Had a Little Spider.”
Rhythm and Movement
Children naturally experience music with their entire bodies. Infants and babies benefit from sitting on your lap or being held while you move to the music. Toddlers and preschoolers love songs that give them instructions about how to move. Songs that ask them to “freeze,” explore the concepts of fast and slow, and move like different animals are often favorites.
Research shows that the benefits of making music with your children are significant. Babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more and communicate better. Informal music making with toddlers leads to better literacy, numeracy, social skills, attention, and emotional regulation. Music training actually changes your child’s brain and can provide lifelong advantages.
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