Singing is also a special technique that builds trust in toddlers and gives them pleasure. By age 2, many toddlers can not only hum along with familiar melodies but even chime in with a few garbled words. Hearing their names sung over and over in made-up songs helps to calm and reassure them and strengthens the connection between you and your toddlers.
Music With Infants
Find time every day to sing songs with your babies during routines. Sing about what you are doing-diapering, rocking, settling the baby on a play mat. Sing as you label each little finger you are cleaning up after lunch. Exaggerate your tones as you sing. A made-up song, such as, "See my sweet, sweet BAAABY!" sung with delight as you diaper a baby attracts her attention and builds emotionally positive bonds.
Sing to Soothe Infants
Crooning in empathic tones provides the emotionally soothing bandage a baby needs when he has tumbled and bumped himself. You can comfort a fussy, teething baby with a funny song such as "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Exaggerate the animal sounds in each stanza of the song to distract the baby from his teething woes. Your singing reassures him that you are that special person he can count on when he feels tired or upset.
Sing Babies to Steep
Infants drift into sleep more easily with lullabies. For very young babies, croon two notes: "Ah, ah, baby." With older infants, choose song such as "Mockingbird" ("Hush little Baby/Don't say a word...").
Music in Motion
Rub the baby's tummy in a circle and sing about going ,round and 'round. Sing the words for your motions as you gently move an infant's limbs in and out or up and down. Pat a baby's back tenderly to send the message that he is lovable. Dance slowly to soothing music while holding the baby in your arms.
Music With Toddlers
Singing enhances a child's feelings of camaraderie with other children. Try simple group songs: "Good morning little yellow bird, yellow bird, yellow bird. Good morning little yellow bird. Who are you?" Smile happily and point to a different toddler each time. Toddlers respond with "My name is...." in a singsong tone. The children learn one another's names and feel pride in knowing the words that go with the music.
Add to the Pleasure
A basket of simple musical instruments increases toddlers' enjoyment of music as a special "together time." Toddlers enjoy making their own music with wrist bells, maracas, and small tambourines as well as playing them along with familiar tunes.
When you make music and sing with toddlers, keep in mind that even though they may have heard certain tunes over and over again since they were infants, you'll want to keep giving them the continuity of pleasure that favorite melodies provide.
Ballads such as "Summertime (and the livin' is easy)" help toddlers settle down at naptime. Research shows that music, whether a lullaby or other gentle song, encourages sleep. Also, music that includes the toddlers' names eases the transition to wake-up time.
Sing for Cooperation
Toddlers who are going through their "no" stage cooperate more easily to a singsong cheerful melody. You can make up songs for activities you want toddlers to participate in such as, "Time to get ready for lunch. Now it's yummy lunchtime!" These tunes help toddlers feel better about complying with routines and transitions.
Make music your special way of increasing harmony and feelings of closeness with the children in your program.