Greetings Music Families!
We all love and find comfort in pleasurable rituals woven into our years, months, weeks, and days.  Rituals help us recognize special times and feel bonded to those we love.  Our culture uses music to recognize certain celebrations such as singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl/boy or singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of important events.  You can use the power of music to create your own unique ritual moments on a daily basis in your home!
#1. Sing Lullabies: Use lullabies at bedtime to help your family settle down and feel soothed.  Research has shown that lullabies help our bodies release  “feel-good chemicals” that are beneficial for our health.  You can use lullabies at bedtime, nap time, and during the day when your children may need a bit of extra comfort.
     In music class, we use a lullaby to signify the end of our musical activities together for the day.  We encourage bonding between the child and caregiver and the practicing and learning of new, calming lullabies for your family to share together.
#2. Make Daily Transitions with the Help of a Song: When transitioning from one type of activity to another (such as from play time to dinner time, etc.), use a song to signify the time for transition.  Sing the song with intent, look into your child’s eyes, smile, and join them in the transition.  You might have a favorite song for bath time, one for dinner time, etc.  Use the same melody each time and create your own words to fit your situation.  I sing “This is How We Comb Our Hair” to calm my 13-month-old son while I attempt to brush his hair.
     In music class, we use the “Bye Bye [instrument]” song to signify the time to put away our instruments and move to the next song.  The “Hello Song” means we are beginning our music-making time together and the “Goodbye Song” transitions us through the end of the class.  These songs serve as mental cues that we are transitioning together and they help children (and adults) feel more secure and more connected to our community.
#3. Sing to Get Your Child’s Attention: Do you ever have trouble getting your child to hear you?  Sometimes my children are distracted by their play and don’t even realize I am trying to get their attention.  This is when I start singing what I was trying to say to them.  There is something about using my singing voice in an unexpected way that suddenly grabs their attention.  Once I know I have gained their attention, I sing my message to them with a grin.  They usually respond with a grin and curious look.  Bingo!  I got their attention without raising my voice.  Over the years, my children have started responding with their singing voices at times.  You might notice that using this technique can add a little humor to what might have been a tense interaction between you and your children.  It can move an interaction away from the tendency to yell or raise our voice and into a playful banter with our singing.  I love any small moment in time that helps me bond with my family in a light-hearted way.
Sing with your family this week!

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