The Benefits of Singing and Music: For Toddlers

This is the second post in my series on the benefits of singing to your children. Part 1 is about singing and playing music for infants. 

Here is a little recap for those of you who haven’t read Part 1 of the series. I come from a family big on music and song. My mama was in the church choir when she was young, my sister and I were in show choir in high school, and now I sing all the songs on the radio. The rest of my family members (my mama, sister, and me included) and, mostly uncles and cousins can either play piano or guitar as well. So it only seemed natural to me to sing to our newborn baby to stop her from crying when we brought her home from the hospital. Now, it only seems natural to run around the house singing along with any musical toys M has.

Toddler M loves music. I knew she always had a thing for music, but I didn’t know how much she loved it until one day she broke out in a dance to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” From then on, I knew we had to have music on. CD players and boom boxes are on their way out, if they haven’t already, so we listen to Satellite Radio. Our favorite stations are 90’s, Top 40, and the occasional AltNation. I am more partial to rock and alternative, but since the day I saw M jammin’ to Taylor, we listen to pop music more often. We love to have dance parties in the kitchen. I used to Zumba regularly, but since I had M I haven’t had time to make it to classes. Kitchen dance parties are when I pull out my old Zumba moves. Not only does M have a good time dancing around, she also is bonding with her mama, and burning off some of her endless energy.

My mama gave M the Taylor Swift CD for Christmas. I am very thankful for it. This is because I can turn on the CD in the car if M is having a tantrum, which happens often now that she is in her terrible twos, and it will calm her down by the time we get home or our next destination. The day she was singing a song in the grocery store parking lot after a meltdown, melted my heart.

My family is very religious. At a church day-care garage sale I picked up three church hymn CDs. It is fun for both of us to listen to because it takes me back to Vacation Bible School days and she learns the songs as well. I loved how baby lullabies soothed M when she was a baby and I love the calming effects music still offers my toddler. A bonus to the calming effects is that sometimes she still falls asleep listening to music on longer trips.

M and I also have a singing routine. When she was a baby, I sang songs about her toys. Instead of for calming and bonding she learned through play. We played with her stuffed animals and I made up goofy songs about them. I also sang to her when I dressed her. Most songs were about what color her clothes were. I think singing to her about these things when she was younger helped her remember or learn what they are earlier than if I had not sang to her. She also was really happy when I would sing to her. She would have the biggest smile!

Now, I still sing silly songs, but most are songs I learned at 4-H camp. We usually sing different camp songs during diaper changes and after a bath. One of my favorite songs is “The Froggy Song,” which has actions to go with the words. 

Here is my version:

“Mmm, mmm went the little green frog one day,

Mmm, mmm went the little green frog,

Mmm, mm went the little green frog one day so we all went mmm, mmm, ahh.”

“We all know frogs go sha la la la la, sha la la la la, sha la la la la,

We all know frogs go sha la la la la, they don’t go mmm, mmm, ahh.”

“Honk, honk went the big bad truck one day,

Split, splat went the little green frog,

The little green frog don’t mmm no more, cause’ he got licked up by a dog!”

Here is another song we sing and dance to (from my 4-H camp days). We use the same choreography I learned at camp, which is really fun. Check out this super cute YouTube video of the toddler dancing! 

Overall, I’m teaching her new words, fine-tuning her motor skills, and having fun passing down old camp songs.

Finally, we sing “Jesus Loves Me,” before we go to bed each night. It is so sweet when she sings the words. That is a big mama moment for me. Learning language, memory, and motor skills are fabulous overall benefits of singing to your toddler. The bonuses for me are the calming effects that still keep on working after tantrums or a boo-boo, and the joy it brings to both M and me to see the big smile on her face and hear her sweet words when she sings.

My top five benefits to singing to your toddler are:

  1. Calming
  2. Memory
  3. Learning
  4. Language
  5. Joy

Do you sing to your child(ren) for learning purposes?

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