Saturday, July 8, 2017

Music for Mothers of Multiples

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Filed under For Parents

I was asked to speak about music therapy to a mothers of multiples group, but I had to decline the offer because I will be in class during their meeting. I thought it would be nice to write a blog post about what I might have said.

Research shows that music is important for neural development. Here are some tips for encouraging musical development through out your child’s life:

During pregnancy: Developing babies begin to hear sounds at 18 weeks of pregnancy and are more sensitive to sounds at 24 weeks. DO NOT PUT HEADPHONES ON YOUR BELLY. Babies can hear without the headphones and may become overstimulated with direct application of sound to your belly. While you are pregnant, listen to music that you like and that you want your baby to listen to at a volume that is comfortable for your ears. Lullabies are a good choice to listen to while you rest. You can even try to establish nap times for your child by resting at those same times while you are pregnant. Robin Spielberg has some good instrumental lullabies for newborns. Singing to your child during pregnancy is also important. I recommend singing nursery rhymes and lullabies that you might sing to help sooth your baby, because soothing babies to sleep will be the most important task for exhausted parents. Have the father sing to your babies, too.

Birth to 2 years: There are many music and mommy classes to look for. Some of the better ones are Music Together and Musikarten, which are great for building your repertoire and helping you meet other moms. You can also sing Twinkle Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus, and other simple songs as you bounce and play with your babies. I used a song to help my kid stay still for diaper changes and other songs to help me stay sane as I repeated directions or attempted daily routines.

Preschool years: This is my current stage and my kid loves to make up songs about whatever he is doing or just singing “Mommy, Daddy” to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?” I don’t sing the hand washing or teeth brushing song as much, but they still work to give repeated directions and get my kid to actually follow them with less yelling from me. We have drums and shakers that we play and often have dance parties. These help with his fine and gross motor development, along with cognitive development. I also use songs to help with social situations, like “When you get upset, use your words. When you get upset, use your words. Don’t hit or bite, don’t start a fight. When you get upset, use your words” (tune: If you’re happy and you know it). You can insert some sample phrases, like “say ‘No thanks!'” or “tell a grown up” too.

School-aged: I, personally, believe all children should receive piano lessons starting at the time when they are able to read, around age 6. However, I don’t believe that parents should fight with their children to practice because there are many things that we will need to fight about. Encourage practicing, set up a routine for practicing, even remind your children to practice, but if they don’t, let their teacher handle it. Piano lessons, or other music lessons, should be fun, not another chore. Try other music opportunities, like guitar, or band and orchestra, or choir as your child shows interest in them, or prefers to not continue in piano.

In addition to all of the above suggestions, listen to a lot of music at home and make music at home. Don’t give in to beliefs that you can’t sing or aren’t talented enough. Everyone can make music. Besides, it’s important for your children’s brain development!