If you have young children in your home, you might think that you are stuck listening to cheery (and CHEESY) children's music until the kid are a bit older. While there is certainly value in learning songs like "The Wheels on the Bus" and "B-I-N-G-O," you would probably appreciate a little more variety. Guess what? Your kids can not only enjoy listening to real music, but they can benefit from it as well. You can use music to your advantage to set the tone in your home.
Here are 6 ways that you can incorporate REAL music into your home life with little ones.
There is a reason why restaurants feel so inviting; they are designed to make you feel at ease, so that you will linger and maybe stay for an extra drink or dessert. One of the ways they achieve a relaxed atmosphere is by using music. You can use the same principle at your own kitchen table. Choose instrumental music (we typically choose classical or jazz) to play softly in the background while you eat a meal together. Your little one is more likely to settle in and actually eat, and not declare themselves "ALL DONE!" after a few bites. This can also give you something to talk about with your tots. You can describe the style of music or different instruments and elements that you hear.
Lift Your Spirits
If your kids get a little grouchy or sleepy during the midmorning or midafternoon lull (or if mama gets a little grouchy or sleepy) play some uptempo, cheerful tunes to make yourselves happy again. Having a dance party is optional but highly recommended.
When your kiddos are crazy, put on some calm music. For me, this works better if I don't even mention what I'm doing or my intention to my girls. The effect is subtle, and can take a while to make a difference, but sure enough, they eventually start to settle down.
You can definitely use calming music to help your kids settle in for bedtime. On nights when our girls aren't getting a bath, we like to do something calming and soothing to help transition them from playtime to sleepy time. We put on some calm music (my favorite is the "Spa" station from Pandora internet radio) and just walk around our upstairs slowly and calmly. We tell them to breathe slowly and match their pace with the music. You can also play sleepy music while you read bedtime stories and snuggle.
Clean-Up or Chore Motivation
If your kids are like mine then they are masters at the clean-up stall. They'll find anything and everything to keep them from helping to pick up! Try putting on a song and challenge them to clean up a room or a particular toy set before the song is over. This idea is especially effective for competitive children who hate to lose a challenge!
If you do preshcool (or any kind of school) at home, or just enjoy doing crafts and activities with your kids, you can probably find some tunes to go along with your theme. We listened to the Beach Boys when we had Summer theme week. During our United States theme, we listened to jazz, traditional folk songs, and more current Americana. We found great Latin music to listen to during Spanish week. Obviously this idea isn't applicable to every topic, but for some topics it can greatly enhance your kids' learning.
What other ideas can you add to this list? How do you enjoy REAL music in your home when you have young children?
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