(Issue Series 3)
Kids and music recitals. We’ve all been there.
All jokes aside, I’ve discussed in quite a bit of detail the benefits of music therapy for people in medical rehabilitation, for people with autism and other special needs, and for children in school settings. Now it’s time to discuss music and kids in the one place you’d never want to see them, your own home.
There are tons of blogs and Pinterest pages dedicated to music therapy for the home. Listening to music is already such a calming and meditative activity, but music therapy is “a targeted way to help improve people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being,” according to Music Therapy Techniques to Try at Home. Music therapy can impact both the cognitive domain and the social domain of a child’s brain. What does that mean, you ask? Who knows. Google don’t fail me now..
OK so basically, music therapy strengthens a child’s mental capabilities and motor skills because music utilizes every part of the brain. Music therapy also has the ability to help kids learn to share and be in an environment with other kids without getting sensory overload. OK, maybe not that last bit, but I’m sure it certainly helps.
Parents don’t even have to be wicked talented because, I mean, what does a kid know? Unless you have a child prodigy who has perfect pitch, they probably won’t mind your off-key singing a whole bunch. Music therapist Erin Benaim says “music therapy is also really accessible to children, as kids typically find music enjoyable and non-threatening.” In case you have a kid here’s a tip she offers; match upbeat music to your child’s energy and gradually shift to slow mellow songs in order to calm a child.
Kids are crazy and they’re all about routine, so this next site lets you know to do that. Setting Up a Music Routine at Home gives us tips on some much needed structure for bouncy kids. This process is broken up into four parts; make a musical plan, set the structure, gather your stuff, and bring on the music. To break this down, you want to have a song for every activity you do in your home, I’m talking a movement song, a greeting song, a farewell song, the whole enchilada. The structure is probably the most important part of this. Without structure, you as a parent or guardian will fail.
But also hey I don’t know you, maybe you will fail.
Back to business, consistency is key! Do your routines in the same places at the same times. The structure is very necessary, especially for young children. Set aside a specific amount of time and tuck away distractions. Music therapy has to be a special place reserved only for music therapy.
The ‘gather your stuff’ tip is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll explain it just in case. Have your music, instruments, and whatever else you need with you. Disruption during the specified time period will mess up what you have going. And lastly, bring on the music!
Good luck and God bless.