When I'm having a bad day, there is nothing that can cheer me up faster than the sound of my girls singing along to their favorite song. And the same goes for them: if the little one is having a tantrum, we sit on the floor and sing her favorite songs from school. It calms her down instantly. If the oldest one wants some time to herself, she goes into her room and turns on her stereo. Music is everywhere in our house.
Their taste ranges from Disney tunes (lately: Tangled, Brave, Beauty and the Beast), to pop songs (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are favorites) to Irish fiddle records my folks brought home from a trip to Europe. They love to dance around in their underwear, wearing homemade capes, spinning and twirling, hopping on the furniture and being silly little girls. They're so carefree; it's a dream to watch.
Not all kids are born with the "music gene," however. I have a girlfriend who's son could not be more disinterested in listening; he actually goes over and switches off the stereo when she flips it on! Here are some ways you can foster the love of music in your kids, whether they already love it or not.
- Explore their taste, for free. Try different radio stations, Pandora stations, and check out different CDs from the library. They might not like "kid music"--you might be surprised by what they enjoy!
- Try a music class. There are a million baby and child music classes out there, and many offer first time free trials. Give it a shot and see how your kiddo responds.
- Stock up on instruments. Hit up garage sales, dollar stores and thrift stores for musical instruments. No, not real guitars and drums. I'm talking about maracas, wooden clappers, tambourines, triangles, etc. See what your kids come up with once they get their hands on them!
- Or, make your own instruments! A wooden spoon and a pot (or a Tupperware, for a quieter effect) make a fabulous drum. Fill old plastic baby bottles with dried beans, rice or pasta to make your own shakers (just make sure they're tightly sealed!). Turn on the stereo and let them shake away to the beat!
- Let them pick. The moment we hop in the car, each girl gets to pick a song. We take turns choosing until we're back home (Mommy gets a turn, too, when she's sick to death of Beauty and the Beast). We've sung our hearts out, and gotten all our errands done.
What kind of music do your kids listen to?