Singing to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them at a young age! They will love the different pitches and tones of your voice, and will be thrilled by the attention they are getting. They will enjoy the sound of your voice more than anything else, and so you are guaranteed a captive audience. Babies learn to sing before they can speak, by copying the familiar sing-song patterns of song. The repetitive nature of many children’s songs is great for their language development, and it’s lovely to make them laugh with a growing sense of anticipation for what comes next.
Sing nursery rhymes – with actions. Grow with your child. Use context
Nursery rhymes are an obvious place to begin. Your baby won’t mind what you sing to them, as long as it’s with enthusiasm and plenty of actions. If you need any help with actions, check out my nursery rhyme post here.
Here are some of my favourites:
- The Wheels on the Bus
- Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- Five Little Ducks
- Pat a Cake
- Humpty Dumpty
- The Grand Old Duke of York
- Row Row Row Your Boat
- 5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer
- 5 Little Speckled Frogs
As your baby gets older, sing them in their appropriate context. For example, sing 5 Little Ducks when feeding the ducks, and Pat a Cake when making cupcakes. Your baby will learn to associate the words with real objects.
As your baby grows, you can adapt the actions to challenge their developing bodies. For example:
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- At birth, can be sung with your baby on their back, gently touching each body part
- From supported sitting, can be sung with your baby resting against you, in front of a full length mirror
- From standing, can be sung with you touching your own body parts, and your child copying you
This is such a special bonding activity! Singing your child to sleep will enhance their feelings of security, and provide them with a great feeling of comfort. The sound of your voice is the thing that will soothe them more than anything else, and this can be a lovely way of calming things down before bedtime. Some of my favourite lullabies include:
- Hushabye Mountain
- Rock a Bye Baby
- Five Pennies
- Feed the Birds
Make up songs to familiar tunes – Sing songs that come into your head
Use music to get you and your child through the most mundane activities. Brushing their teeth, putting their toys away, and getting dressed for school can all be sung about to the tune of ‘Here we go round the Mulberry bush’. Learning spellings, compiling shopping lists, and practising times tables can all be done to the tune of ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’.
Music can be used to make this more interesting and entertaining, or to diffuse tantrums and strops. Your child’s ears will prick to hear a tune that they recognise, and will listen even more intently to the words that you are singing.
These don’t need to be made up songs, either! Everytime something reminds you of a song you love, sing it out loud. As everyone in your family begins to do the same, this creates a very uplifting and sociable environment. It will form a wonderful part of your child’s life and character.
Sing without inhibition and embarrassment, and encourage your child to do the same. Some children may be self-conscious about using their voice, but this is often a learned trait. Teach them that there is nothing to be afraid of by singing loudly and proudly, and cheer for them to join in. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the greatest voice in the world – you have the ability to make your children smile with your singing!