Saturday, August 4, 2012

Using Music to Establish Routines

Routines are vital to every young child's life.  It brings them comfort for their day to unfold in predictable ways.  Music can ease the transition from one activity to the next by letting the child know what routine is about to happen.  They start to associate that activity with the song, and then when they hear the song they naturally do the activity.  Although there are many times when music can ease transition, I will share several with you.
Good Morning
Good Morning 
Good Morning to You!
This simple song greets my toddler each morning, and it, without fail, turns her face from a frown to a smile.  She knows that this song means that it's time to get up, and even as I open the blinds, she waits patiently in her crib while I get her up. Any song will work for this routine, as long as it's the same song each morning.
Hand Washing- Hand washing can have two difficulties: the kids don't want to do it, and the kids don't know how long to wash.  A simple singing of the ABC's during the wash makes the routine easier, but it is also a cue for the end of the wash (about 30 seconds long).  If the child knows that "Z" signals the end of the "torture," it will be a bit more predictable.  

Clean Up- It doesn't matter if the child is 1 or 12, I have had experience after experience when singing of the classic
Clean up!
Clean up!
Everybody Everywhere!

Clean up!
Clean up!
Everybody do your share!
sends a child skittering around for toys directly after asking nicely for the child to clean up and having them tell me flat out, "No!"  

Prayer-  This routine is one that is nostalgic for me from my childhood.  I loved singing grace before snack at Girl Scout Meetings, and being the lucky girl to get to choose the song was a coveted position.  This prayer song was a favorite: 

Lullaby- Most parents will agree- bedtime is crucial!  If things go smoothly, lovely snugly memories are made, but if it doesn't go smoothly...  Watch out!  Routine is key to a great bedtime.  Parents should set the routine and stick to it.  An example is bath, pajamas, book, lullaby, prayer.  The lullaby should be the same song each night, and it can be any soft, gentle, and loving song.  We use Lullaby Baby-O from Bless My Little Girl.


Sleep Music- A soothing, sweet lullaby CD helps children ease from the bedtime routine into actual sleep.  The soft sounds of their favorite lullabies bring peace and comfort after a busy day.

These are just a small sampling of the many routines that can be aided by music.  Choose one or two to try to incorporate into your day (either with your students or your own children), and decide for yourself if it is worthwhile.

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