Smoothing Transitions: How Music Makes Parenting Easier

In parenting, one of the greatest daily challenges comes from the need to transition.

Simple transitions for adults, such as getting from one's living room to the car, can become an enormous and dramatic scene when kids and car-seats are involved, ending with the parent feeling drained and the child upset.

By putting the transition to a soundtrack, the rough edges and heartbreaking cries of our most treasured little angels can be alleviated, sometimes as quickly as the time it takes to sing a few notes of a song, or the opening phrase of a chant.

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One song used in classrooms all over the country is called the "Clean Up Song." The words are simple and catchy: "Clean up, clean up--everybody, everywhere--clean up, clean up--now it's time to do your share."

Teachers use this because it turns what could be a power struggle into a positive message of celebration, enticing the whole class to get involved.

Similarly, when music is a part of one's household routine, songs can help ease disappointment and fear in a child at every stage of the day, such as when it's time to get into the bath, have a diaper change, or get ready for bed.

Take the song, "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush," and insert those activities in place of the original words, such as by singing, "This is the way we take a bath," or "This is the way we get in the car," and you'll be amazed how often this gets everybody moving in the right direction with a smile.

The repetition makes it catchier each round, and gives the child a chance to consider joining in while they adjust naturally to the suggestion.

It is very normal for children to show resistance during transitions. Transitions represent the unknown, or having to give up one comfortable situation for another. When positive associations are in place, such as little tunes, or even rhythms and dances leading to the next phase, children will more easily accept the idea that they are safe, and can have fun with you during the times between life's many activities and necessities.

For more ideas on how Music Makes Parenting Easier, check out this article, or join us for a Kindermusik class, to keep your household singing all year-long.