Music was an inexplicably large gift in my childhood. Much is written about the benefits of exposing a child to music, even in utero. But I think about how music helps me be a better parent. Here are five of the biggies:
1. I’m not bashful about singing with people I just met.
When kids circle up at the library, or wherehaveyou, it often involves a song or two. I can’t imagine how awkward this might be for someone who isn’t comfortable singing. Such pain! But I don’t bat an eye. I will get that Itsy Bitsy spider all up and down that water spout.
2. Songs help kids do stuff you want them to do.
Based on zero minutes of research, I state: singing songs help kids refocus, and gets them do stuff. Most parents know that “clean up” song. We’ve got a ditty for when we come in the door. We’ve got one for going upstairs and downstairs. We’ve got one for leaving (especially the park).
It’s a lot nicer for me to sing a song than to say, “No really. Take your shoes off. WE DO THIS EVERY TIME WE COME INSIDE. SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOES OFF. Take your shoes off. Nope. Come back. Shoes off. Wait. Now wash your hands. Waaaaait. Come back. Bathroom. Bathroom. Nope. Step stool. Yep. Nope. Please come back. Thank you. Nope. Please come back.”
Granted, at three, he’s moved past wanting to *do* the song activities. But the song is still an effective reminding tool.
3. I won’t kick my kid out of the house if he takes up the drums. Or worse: the oboe.
This one is cheating a bit, since it’s imagining our lives in the future. But it’s already relevant for a preschooler. I like the sounds of music-learning. Even if they are horrible, loud, squeaky, and off-rhythm. It’s comforting to me. The comfort helps me be encouraging. Or it at lest helps me not flip out during the 130 minutes of kazoo blowing.
4. Music is a drug to me.
This one’s related to #3. It’s purely selfish. Kid on your last nerve? Toss on an old Prince song. Woke up in a bad mood, but still have to parent a human? Sing a little “Love in an Elevator” in the shower. A well-regulated momma is a better momma. ‘Nough said.
5. I can sing the same song two gajillion times, and still get into it.
Does this one even need explanation? Children = repetition. I have sung “The Rainbow Connection” four times per day for the last several months. Before that, I was only allowed a couple Simon and Garfunkel tunes. I don’t care. Not a bit.
Know why? In MY day, I’d play the same ten seconds of a piano score for ten minutes in a row. Every day. For months.
I admit I’m bored by pushing the same train car around for more than thirty seconds. But same song for months on end? No problem.
What about you? How does music help you be a better parent, or a better person.