smiling young girl with long brown hair washing hands in the kitchen

Using Music to Establish a Routine

By: Rebecca Michelsen, M.Ed., MCHES, Penfield Children’s Center

No matter how old your child is, it is never too late create a routine for him.  There are many benefits to establishing a routine for your child. Routines provide structure that help children feel secure, confident and ready to take on new challenges. Routines also play an important role in a child’s development. Routines help teach kids how to positively control themselves and their environments.

However, sometimes daily routines can feel boring. One way to make your routine fun and more enjoyable is by adding some music. In addition to making a routine more fun, music can help with a child’s development such as building gross motor skills, promoting speech and language development and teaching about emotions.  We also know that music is a great tool to use with children when trying to get them to transition activities or listen and follow directions. So why not consider including music in some of your daily routines?

From the moment a child wakes up until it’s time to go to bed, music can help get little ones moving in a fun and creative way! For example, take the melody of your child’s favorite songs and make up a new song about an activity or task you need to accomplish. “Row row row your boat, gently down the stream” can easily become “Wash wash wash your face, make it nice and clean…” Also, adding a tune to your morning commute by changing “The wheels on the bus” to “The wheels on the car” or “The wheels on your bike” can put a smile on your child’s face early in the morning before drop off.

In addition, it’s important to consider your child’s unique preferences when adding music to his routine.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Tailor the music to your child’s needs. The music we select should help to motivate or calm our child, not overstimulate him.  Each child responds differently to music so try a variety of music and see what type of music your child responds to.
  2. Music can be sung, listened to or you can make-up your own song. Again this is about what works best for you and your child.  Some find that they can make a playlist of their favorite songs to play during their morning or bedtime routine.  Others may sing a song about brushing teeth or washing hands. For example, here is a song that is great to use with your kids about brushing their teeth.
  3. Use music as a timer. Music can cue both the start and the finish of a routine. When selecting music for your routine, you can choose the length of the music or number of songs to fit the length of the routine. This will help keep the child moving along as he works to complete his task before the song ends.

Adding music to your child’s routine easily spices up mundane daily obligations and can turn them into playful or relaxing tasks to transition into the next activity.

What are some ways you like to incorporate music into your family’s routines?

Reference:
http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/toddler-music.html#

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