In part one of this series we discussed to couple of ways to help your young child interact with music at home: actively listening and moving to a beat.
Today we’ll explore a few more ideas.
Listen to a variety of music in your home
We all have our favorite genres of music and most of us want our kids to enjoy the same music that we do.
Make a point to change up the style that you listen to as a family. Play classical music regularly. Play music that features a variety of different acoustic instruments.
When you hear music, try to avoid making your own judgement of the music and just let your child listen and react.
In this age where we can listen to any song we want whenever we want, kids learn that they can listen to their favorite songs on command. Encourage them to listen to different songs, even if they think they don’t like it. (This is a good skill for parents to practice too!) Don’t give the option of changing songs before one is over.
Often, we are drawn to music just because it is familiar. The best way to become familiar with more music (and therefore enjoy more music) is to listen to more music. This may seem simple, but it’s an easy rut to get into.
When I’m eating lunch with my kids, we often listen to music on Pandora radio. My daughter is often eager to hear her favorite song (Let It Go, of course!). I’ve taught her that on the radio, you don’t get to choose and we need to listen to all of the songs. It we hear our favorite, it will be a fun surprise!
Encourage creative movement
As exhausting as it is for parents, it is a young child’s job to move! For the first couple of years, many big milestones for children revolve around moving and coordination – rolling, crawling, walking, clapping, and grasping, to name a few.
When you approach your child’s movement with that understanding, the constant motion becomes a bit more tolerable.
Embrace every chance to move. Move like an animal – hop like a kangaroo, waddle like a penguin, run like a gazelle, flap your arms like a bird.
If you hear graceful, elegant music encourage movements like gliding or swaying. Show them how to make their arms float like butterfly wings.
When you hear fast and exciting music, encourage jumping and stomping. Show them how to pump their arms really fast or wave them in the air.
Children are always up for pretending so let them make a hammering motion with a pretend hammer. Have them pretend to scrub the floor. Pretend you are paddling a boat or flying like an airplane. The possibilities are endless. Take any chance your can get to make their need to move productive.
All of these different movements will make your child sensitive to the story that music tells.
Even if you think you can’t sing, sing anyways! Kids don’t know and don’t care if you think you have a bad singing voice. When they hear you singing, they will sing. If you don’t know the words, make them up.
Make up a tune and sing anything you want. Sing tasks that you want them to complete. Sing facts you want them to learn.
Singing is another musical skill that comes very naturally to most kids. Don’t let your own inhibitions prevent your child from singing their heart out!
Above all, I hope your family learns to enjoy and love music together. Integrate these ideas into your family routine, or return to this series on a rainy day when you need some creative music inspiration!