How to Introduce Music to Your Child
By Amy Turn Sharp of Doobleh-vay
1. Don’t buy a bunch of new music. You have music
Don’t assume investing in every lame classical CD targeted at infants is going to give your child the richest sensory environment. Also don’t torture yourself with crappy kiddo stuff and have classic songs sung by Barney or a Backyardigan which will make you want to bang your head on the steering wheel as you listen to it for the 700th time. Trust yourself: Dylan, The Beatles, Bach, Guthrie, Putumayo collections, Billie Holiday, and even some old Dave Matthews college CDs are just fine.
2. Music is a much better background that television
Although it is tempting when they are very small to just lounge with them on your chest as you soak up Project Runways repeats- do you really want the baby ingesting “make it work” or building lovely neural bridges and stimulating alpha waves from that perfect NPR block at 2pm? Think about it. Incorporating soft music for nap/rest time is comforting and a good consistent cue for children to relax.
3. Invest in a music box
Give the your child access to instruments. Get a small box that holds a collection of instruments that the child can bring out and enjoy. Make sure the box also has a lid and can be put away when it gets too much.! Take your kid to a music store. It is like magic. You can buy a egg shaker for a couple bucks and start that music box that has a lid.
4. Believe in music and help your child learn with music
Young children find it easier to express feelings when they have a point of reference. Music and it’s amazing melodies, tones, and moods lends itself perfectly to examining feelings. Ask your child to compare the way that they feel to songs. Do you feel like “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles or “Hallelujah”by Jeff Buckley today? Ask your child to dance with you to music and move the way that the music makes them feel. This is a great time to introduce new music in a fun way and bond silly with your child. I use this as some of my targeted exercise for the week.
5. Create memories with music
If you have music on around the house then you are going to build memories. A wonderful time to listen to music as a family is during the dinner preparations. Choose a new artist each evening and enjoy the music together. I think my sons will think back one day to the sight of their parents busily chopping peppers in a small kitchen while singing love songs loudly. Even now I have memories that involve my mother, Fleetwood Mac, and linoleum kitchen floors and they are so lovely. Just like a scent can throw you somewhere back in time-music transcends time and has the power to catapult you into smiles. Rock on.