A few weeks ago I posted an article with some advice on why you should sing to your baby every day. I received a wonderful email response from Bubble Box mum Jacqui that I just have to share with you, with her permission of course! I absolutely love hearing mums’ stories so if you’d like to share a music experience that you’ve had with your baby, please email me via the contact form. I’ve also included my reply to Jacqui and some tips on how you can make up your own songs to share with your baby.
From Jacqui (Mum of Josie – 10 months)
Thank you for your article on the benefits of singing to your baby – I loved it! I have certainly have experienced some benefits of singing to my little girl… A quieter car trip to the shops, a smoother nappy change experience, drowning out a fake cry, and it’s the easiest way to feel like a celebrity in my own living room. I always get a smile and finish to huge applause. Nothing soothes my daughter like music. In the early days I worried that I didn’t know any nursery rhymes and was inundating her with The Waifs and The Supremes, until I cottoned on to the fact that she really didn’t care what I was singing, she just loved that I was singing it to her. [So true! Ed.]
These days, it’s a made up song that really brings a smile to her face, calms her down for bed or gets her through long car trips. A ridiculous song I made up (one day whilst driving to the shops with my screaming two month old) is to the tune of Eensy Weensy Spider. Over time it evolved to include actions, spirit fingers and back-up singers if her dad is in the car too. It’s nothing special, I am clearly no lyricist, but I have a die hard fan in my 10month old daughter.
J is for jumping and doing a Josie dance
O is for opening and shutting tiny hands
S is for smiling and staring into space
I is for I’m loved every single day
E is for Eva, that’s my middle name. (Insert spirit fingers here and repeat a thousand times).
It’s our own secret language and it can pretty much be applied to any situation. We sing about traffic, finding lost socks and explaining why the remote control is not a toy. It’s my own portable dvd player, pacifier or horse ride. I’m sure it won’t be long before she is too cool to have her mother sing to her, but I’m holding out hope that I can still belt out this tune at her 21st and have her in bed by 7pm. 😉
Kind regards, Jacqui
My reply to Jacqui
Hi Jacqui, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Your Josie song is adorable and I am sure she will always have special memories of you singing it to her (even when she is a too-cool 21-year-old ). I love how you talked about the ways you incorporate singing into boring old every day routines. Singing can make everyday activities seem fun – I have a silly brushing teeth song that I sing to my girls (Brush your teeth Evie, Brush your teeth Evie, Brush your teeth Evie all night long). It certainly helps to make the less than desirable tooth brushing experience more enjoyable for my girls and for me! I also made up a tidy up song (It’s tidy up time, it’s tidy up time, it’s tidy up time today!) for when my girls are resisting packing away their toys. I definitely think it helps to make tidying up more appealing (well slightly anyway ;)). You are also so right about being like a celebrity to your daughter! In her eyes you really are and it might be the only opportunity we have to feel like rock stars, so I say enjoy it while it lasts! I read a funny story about Hillary Clinton a little while ago. She said she always used to sing Moon River to her daughter when she was a baby. And then when Chelsea was about 16 months she took her little finger, put it on her lip and said ‘No sing, mommy, no sing.’ Haha, poor Hillary! There have been times when my girls have told me to shoosh too…especially now that they’ve found their own voices and are busy making up their own songs and putting on concerts (constantly!). But luckily there are a few of my original songs like our “Swinging” song at the park, and “Bubbles Everywhere” when we’re blowing bubbles (you’d probably recall these songs from Sessions 1-4 of the Baby’s Music Program) that I can still get away with. And it’s just lovely when they sing along too.
The truth is we don’t need to be amazing singers or lyricists to sing to our children – I reckon the best song I’ve ever made up is the one that I’ve sung to my girls at bed time ever since they were born…”Mummy loves you very much, Mummy loves you so so much, Mummy loves you, Mummy loves you, Mummy loves you so, so much.”
So now that Jacqui and I have shared the songs we’ve made up for our little ones, what’s yours? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments section below. And for those of you who would like to make up your own songs but don’t know where to start, here are some tips:
How do I make up my own songs for my children?
It’s not as hard to make up your own songs as you may think. The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch and compose your own melodies (unless you want to). You can use the tune from familiar songs such as Eensy Weensy Spider, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep etc. Here are some other tips for writing the lyrics:
- Keep the lyrics simple ie. choose words that your child will understand and that have meaning to them.
- Use few words and repeat them
- If you use new words include them as the last words of the line for emphasis (so that your child can learn these words)
- Make it personal and use your child’s name in the song
- Combine the words with simple actions (like Jacqui’s spirit fingers)
- Be as silly as you like and have fun with the song (your little one will love it!)