My mother is the one who should be writing this blog. One of my favorite childhood memories is music time. Every week my mom would take us to music time and later would host music time in her home. I loved the visuals, actions, and props and looked forward to the event every week. Years later, when I became pregnant with my first child I got to work collecting, buying, and organizing resources to have my own music time. It has become the highlight of our play dates, rainy days, and family nights. In this post I hope to give you the simple beginning tips to motivate you to start having music time with your children.
Start in your own home.
I did not begin hosting music time with friends until I became comfortable talking and singing with my own children. I experimented with different songs and visuals to see which ones they really enjoyed. We had individualized (my first daughter and I) music time a few mornings a week to pass the time and to see what my daughter was capable of. Music time became a fun routine in our home; one we looked forward to. I could pull out our special music time blanket, and my daughter would excitedly crawl and sit on it, eager to see what songs and props we would sing and use that day. I started involving my husband, and music time became a staple of our weekly family nights. It wasn’t until a couple months went by that I started inviting friends and their children over.
Make music time a fun and consistent routine.
Enthusiasm is key when engaging young children. Make music time, and the anticipation of music time as exciting as possible. Have a special song that gets everybody’s attention and stoked to be there. Make sure to have a special place to sit. I used a specific blanket for the longest time. Try to do music time consistently. Maybe pick one day a week. This way you can wake up in the morning and immediately tell your child you are doing music time. Build the anticipation all through breakfast and morning chores. The enthusiasm is contagious. EVERYONE will feel excited!
Create lists of songs.
I love to be organized and I have felt that if it is organized, it is convenient. If it is convenient the more it is utilized. This applies directly to music time. Sit down, get a computer, (or follow my feed for ideas), and do some research to find children’s songs to sing with your kids. Chances are that you remember a few from your childhood and can start there. I divide my song lists into different categories: Fingerplays, lapbounces, movement, religious, and holiday. I also differentiate for ages. Start with the 5 Fingerplays that I shared in my first post. An easy tip is to have music time with your child weekly, and at the end of the month, write down the songs you sang. The next year, you will be all ready and probably have extra space on the page to add new song ideas.
Gather visuals and props.
As you get more comfortable, and your family falls in love with music time you may consider visuals and props. A lot of my visuals are laminated paper that children can hold up or manipulate. I have found that visuals and props engage young children and help develop fine motor skills. They add variety to your songs. I plan to share many ideas in the future and would recommend following my feed to help you get started. Follow me on any social media.
I hope I have made music time with your kids seem doable. I like having a formal music time with my friends, but also have a special love for my ‘semi-formal’ music time with just my kids and family. If anything, start music time with just your family and don’t stop! I have seen my children’s attention span increase and their confidence to communicate grow. My relationship with my children has also flourished as I engage in something they and I both love.