1 Play with sound. Before you sing with children, play "sounding games." Sing a note, or make a sound and invite children to match it. Once you are all comfortable with making all kinds of sounds, you can move on to songs.

2 Play with rhythm and rhyme. If you are just getting comfortable with singing with children, you can try saying a song in a rhythmic way. Clap as you say the song.

3 Start with the whole song. Children learn songs best when they hear the entire song from beginning to end, several times. Don't break down the song into phrases to teach it. This is confusing to children. Just sing it and don't worry if they can't sing along. They are listening and will join in when they're ready.

4 Use your hands. The finger and hand motions that are used to illustrate a song fascinate children. Often, children who are uncomfortable with singing are willing to go through the motions of the song with you.

5 Sing throughout the day. Use songs throughout the day to get children's attention, give directions, or to even "narrate" something children are doing: "Suzie is riding on the swing."

6 Use familiar tunes. If you know "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat," "Farmer in the Dell," and "Old MacDonald," you have an entire collection of songs at your beck and call. The trick is to use familiar tunes to create new ones. Just change a word or two as in "The Dog Went Out the Window" instead of "The Bear Went Over the Mountain."

7 Have Fun! It's important to be light and playful with songs. Don't make fun of your own voice or focus on your mistake with a lyric. Model acceptance of singing (yours and theirs).