5 Music Activities to Bond with Your Baby
1. Encourage Expression
Sometimes when babies are born they need lots of help to process all the new feelings and sensations. After your baby’s needs are met, use music and rhythm to soothe and help them learn that no feeling is too big for you to handle. Sing or hum a simple melody, bounce or rock them gently to the beat, or provide a soothing “shushing” sound. Babies are comforted by their parents' voices above all others! Your favorite ballad or lullaby, even if it’s not a “kid song,” is perfect.
2. Build Confidence
Tummy time is important for babies to strengthen their back and neck muscles, but it can be challenging for the littlest ones. To build confidence, use a shaker, rattle, or even your car keys to engage your child. Move the instrument slowly from side to side, then up and down while singing Shake Your Sillies Out, Shake It Off, or another favorite song. You will be surprised how quickly your baby will gain confidence in their new skills!
3. Support Curiosity
Babies are born learners and constantly seek out opportunities to explore. Hand your baby a visually interesting instrument like a rainstick or tambourine and encourage them to hold it, shake it, and taste it if it’s safe. Use singing or your voice to describe its color, size, shape, and sound. Remember, at this age, there is no wrong way to play an instrument!
4. Increase Resilience
Babies thrive when there is predictability and structure during stressful events. Use music during diaper changes to capture your baby’s attention and help them learn diaper changes have a predictable beginning and end. Use the nursery rhyme song This is The Way to sing, “This is the way we change your diaper, change your diaper, change your diaper...” Incorporate this song at the doctor’s office, while wiping hands and face, or any other event your baby finds stressful. Remember to give lots of hugs and kisses when it’s all done!
5. Strengthen Relationships
After a stressful event, babies rely on their parents, caregivers, and other trusted adults to co-regulate their nervous system, heart rate, and breathing. Rhythm and music are powerful regulation tools. Lay your baby on your chest, even skin to skin if you can, and sing or hum a familiar song. Your baby feels safest when they hear your voice, feel your breath, and smell your scent. Incorporate movement by gently rocking or bouncing to the rhythm.
Reprinted from 2022 issue of imagine, the early childhood music therapy online magazine published by de la vista publisher.