Teaching Kids: How to Sing

How Nannies Can Foster a Love of Music

One of a nanny’s many responsibilities is creating a stimulating environment where children can learn and explore the world around them. One way nannies can do that is by incorporating music into the children’s days.

In addition to providing an opportunity to play and enjoy music, music has a positive, lasting effect on early childhood development. A 2008 report by the Nemours Foundation cited that children who are actively engaged in making music do better in reading and math when they start school, are better able to focus and control their bodies, play better with others and have higher self-esteem.

Nannies can foster a love of music by singing regularly to and with their charges, by listening to a wide variety of music and by playing music together. With only a few pots and spoons, young children can create their own musical masterpieces and simple kid-friendly instruments, like shaker eggs and tambourines, are perfect for playing in a marching band. Games like freeze dance and musical chairs also provide an opportunity for nannies to incorporate music into the children’s day. Singing favorite songs together, playing a tonal pattern game and dancing to favorite tunes are other ways nannies and children can enjoy music together.

The best way a nanny can foster a love of music, however, is to make music herself. Singing and dancing with their charges provide perfect opportunities to make magical musical moments. And nannies need not worry if they sing on pitch and in tune. Children come to love and trust the voices of their nannies and enjoy hearing them sing. When it comes to the benefits of making music with children, it’s the quantity, not the quality that counts, according to Rachel Youngling, a Cape Cod based Music Together teacher. Children hear perfect music in their environment, so when it comes to making music with kids, it’s the experience that counts.

10 Tips for Teaching a Child to Sing

Music plays an important part in human development. Some have called music the universal language. Singing is an expression of joy and happiness and teaching your child to sing can bring pleasure to you and your child. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Sing to your child – It’s never too early to sing to your child. Even before it’s born the baby learns the sound of its mother’s voice. Studies have shown that a lullaby sung to a child still in the womb has a calming effect on that child when sung after birth. Singing to your child early on can instill feelings of pleasure and comfort.
  2. Sing with your child – Engage your child in singing. Simple nursery songs passed down through the ages are a good way to start. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Little Boy Blue” are two popular, time honored classics.
  3. Join an early childhood family education group. These groups often have singing sessions along with games and other activities for little ones and their parents.
  4. Share your love of music with your children – Sing with abandon! Sing out loud and strong. Your child will love joining you and you will enjoy watching your child sing with such freedom.
  5. Make singing a part of your routine – Many preschools and kindergarten classes use songs to announce a change in activities. There are songs to start the day, get cleaned up, pick up toys, get ready for naptime, etc. Incorporate some songs into your daily routine.
  6. Get your child excited about singing – If there are any concerts where songs familiar to your child will be sung, take them. Kids enjoy going out with their parents to special places and attending a concert will make a lasting impression upon your child.
  7. Join an intergenerational choir – See if there is an intergenerational choir in your community or place of worship. For older school aged children this could be a great time for them to do something fun on a regular basis.
  8. Take voice lessons together – Learn to sing with your child. When you get to the point where you can harmonize together you might find yourselves looking for a back up band!
  9. Have family sing-a-longs – Get the family together around the piano or guitar and sing family favorites: camp songs, hymns, show tunes, etc.
  10. Get sing-a-long CDs and DVDs – If your song repertoire is a bit on the short side, consider investing in a few kid’s song CDs or DVDs. There are many out there to choose from and you can preview most on the Internet.

There was a time when it wasn’t unusual for a family to gather around and sing together. There was a feeling of family unity and closeness, and, of course, a lot of fun. Nowadays families are over scheduled with everyone going off in a different direction. Parents can choose to nurture a sense of family togetherness and teaching your child to sing and singing with your child can be a big step in that direction.

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