Early Childhood: The importance of singing with your children
Whether you have a stellar voice or not, your child wants you to sing! Learn more about using music at home with your child.
If there is one thing I cannot emphasize enough about using music at home in early childhood it’s this–you don’t need to be musical! Many parents hesitate to sing with their children because they don’t think they have a good voice. Whether or not that’s true (I’ll leave that up to you), your child wants to hear your voice more than any other. This is especially true in the early infant periods when your voice is the most meaningful sound to your child. Your sound is what is meaningful to the infant, and they couldn’t care less if it’s not astoundingly musical. Use it daily to bond and bring comfort to your little one during these precious early childhood years!
Despite this desire for your child to hear your voice, the funny thing is that every parent has moments when they try to sing and their child tells them to stop. It’s actually a little embarrassing, especially if you thought you sounded good! I’ve experienced it. Well-trained singers have experienced it. Don’t let it discourage you! Realize that it’s simply a developmental stage in which your child is learning how to gain control over their environment, and it has nothing to do with the quality of your singing voice. In fact, it’s a good sign that your child is learning to assert independence and make their needs known. When your child wants you to stop singing, it usually means they want to be heard. Listen to them. Observe and hear them while they create and explore their own sounds. Praise them for whatever they put on the table, and join again when they open up their world to you!
Honestly, as a parent myself, some of the most memorable times I have singing with my kids have nothing to do with how in tune we are (we get pretty off key sometimes, let me tell you!) and everything to do with the connection we make with each other by singing together. In fact, the more goofy we are as a family, the more we let go and connect. Let your kids be your guide–they don’t care how they sound, they just want to sing and create! It’s your job to join them. You can guide them when necessary (i.e. “let’s sing, not scream”, “okay let’s sing with inside voices now”–that’s for my 2 year old!), and help them to really find their own unique voice–and feel great about it. These early childhood years are a great time to help your child find their voice and express it!
And while you encourage your child to discover his/her own voice, perhaps you will rediscover your own.