Can anyone listen to "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers and not have a secret little smile? It's like putting a fruit pastille in your mouth and not chewing. Try it, it just can't be done! The music that our children listen to is underrated, and our hearing is a sense that many of us forget to notice. What is experienced through music and sound can shape the day and build memories which we sometimes are unaware of.
Exposing babies to music at an early age has been proven to be a great way to encourage their ability to learn and help with brain development. Singing with your little one is a great way to develop language and the repetition of words can shape their communication skills from a very early age. They might not be able to understand what they are singing, but it is a great way of increasing their verbal skills by allowing them to finish a line of a song.
It isn't just singing in music that is beneficial. Making instruments is also a brilliant activity for a rainy day indoors. Those of a certain age may remember making elastic band guitars out of ice cream tubs and home stationery supplies to play along with Rod Jane and Freddy (I couldn't talk childhood without bringing Rainbow into the mix!). Rattles made out of an empty bottle with pasta or rice in it, banging on pots and pans with a wooden spoon and playing the spoons are interesting ways to develop rhythm and allow for more creativity then your standard shop bought music set.
One of my favourite sounds is when one of our children gets the xylophone out and bangs away trying to make a tune. I think that works both ways! I made it my mission to learn some simple songs on it so that the little ones can dance about to mummy playing "The Wheels On The Bus' for the 7000th time. Although my musical abilities make me feel like a rockstar, nothing can compare with Grandad's knack of playing the children any nursery rhymes on his guitar by ear! What a treat we had over Lockdown putting in requests and Grandma and Grandad sending videos of our favourite songs for the little ones to watch an dance along to. Getting involved in music-making with your children helps to teach them to get involved and will encourage them to have the confidence to get involved with other group activities too.
Music is such an important part of life and my memories of listening to my parents music tastes in my youth helped to shape my eclectic taste that developed in my teenage years and beyond. ELO, The Beatles and The Eagles were regular fixtures in our house, ballet music from my dancing classes and general curiosity of getting sounds out of instruments have helped me to gain a broad appreciation of music which one day I hope to pass on to my little ones. Had I known about Moon and Me I would have kept hold of the Kalimba that gathered dust for 10 years after I left University!
That said, after a full day of clanging, banging, crying, nattering, "mummy"ing and then bedtime, then comes the time for you to begin winding down yourself and just want to be in a quiet, relaxed place. Be sure to give yourself 5 minutes of brain space to decompress. Have a lie down in a quiet room before facing the adult world, or even just turn the damned TV off!
The Monton Mama