30 DAYS of AWESOME PARENTING
(read about the adventure here)
Tip 27: Singing with kids for joy-filled days
I’ve been singing with kids since I was 18 years old but about 15 years ago, I began singing in a different way. I learned to sing as a way of life, rather than as a time filler in my busy kindergarten day. It changed the way I see the world, and I now sing as a matter of course every single day, whether I am in the vicinity of children, or not!
Singing is something we can do for pure joy. And what I’ve learned is to embrace singing as an almost spiritual pursuit. It fills my heart, and lightens the load, and to be honest, just makes every day that little bit brighter and more fun. I made a pact with myself a few years ago to not be shy any longer. Life is too short to not sing.
And when you have children, it is almost like you are given a free pass into the world of singing. It is almost expected that as a parent, you will sing from the moment your children are born. Regardless of whether you were blessed with a ‘gift’, or sound like a croaky frog, it really doesn’t matter. Why? Because children accept whatever shape your singing comes in. And to them, your voice is the voice of an angel.
I know this to be fact because sadly, I wasn’t born into a family of singers and I sound nothing like Mariah Carey, no matter how hard I try. But over the years, MANY children have told me that they LOVE my singing. They have said things like, ‘Miss Amber, you are the best singer in the world’, or ‘Miss Amber, your voice is so pretty. You sound like a princess’. However, the reality is, my voice is nothing special. But I sing. And the young child is born to sing. So to them, I am a kindred spirit. You can be too.
I don’t just sing ‘songs’, although I do that too. Thanks to my years as a kindergarten teacher, I have a full repertoire of songs at my fingertips. But to be honest, I don’t tend to use these much at all. No, the songs I sing are the random, make-it-up-on-the-spot kind. I make up songs to go along with the moments of our day. Sometimes, they happen to be quite good and I might actually sing it into my phone so I can remember it. Sometimes, I go so far as to write it down. But mostly, they are fleeting like quicksilver and are gone as soon as the moment has passed. But they made the moment. And we laughed, and sang through tantrums, and sang through tummy pains, and sang through the chaos of getting out of the house in the morning… I love it that my son Ned now uses song in exactly the same way. He has no fear of singing, and sings joyfully all the time. The only thing any child needs is a bit of inspiration from mum or dad, and they’ll start doing the same.
Singing SMOOTHES the way, and it is for this very reason I suggest to all mums and dads to embrace the singing habit. It is a wonderful way to gain your children’s attention, to cajole them into finishing their jobs, or to break a stand-off. (Seriously, no child can remain immune to your impromptu rendition of Grease Lightning, complete with actions. The humour and randomness of a singing injection can snap a child out of a mood instantly!)
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be sent this awesome youtube video of a fellow called Edward Reid. He was a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent in 2011. I’ve been channelling Edward Reid and his interpretation of some classical nursery rhymes ever since. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to sing them ‘normally’ again. He’s a great example of showing us how we don’t have to take singing seriously. When we have children, we don’t have to edit or restrict our singing endeavours. There is no law that says we have to sing in a particular way, or only sing particular songs, or only in a certain scale. (We can choose to for particular reasons, but that is different.)
In fact, if it comes down to it, I’d rather we all sang from the heart, or out of key, rather than not sing at all.
Singing is our gift from the Gods. It’s time to unwrap it, and use it. It’s too good a gift to just display on the shelf.
Today, unleash the singer within! When the children are having a bath, or getting ready for bed, I want you to make up a song to accompany the moment. Yes, if this is the first time, they may stare at you with a quizzical look but it will only take a day or two to get beyond that. Use any content or words that come to mind, and just have fun with it.
Practice makes perfect. Sing, sing, sing… every day this week and then some. Bring the joys of singing back into your home today!
Commit to the task by writing it down here in the comments below or in your 30 days of AWESOME journal.
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