Note: This blog is available as an audio @ Singing with Babies.

Babies love it when you sing with them. When you sing, you sharpen your baby’s listening skills, make her familiar with your voice, and she gets to learn about her language – its rhythm, sounds and words all at the same time. Plus, singing is relaxing and you can bond while spending all this time together. Singing is so great because it gives your baby a full mind-body workout.

Some Easy Tips

1. Sing often and sing with not at your baby.

You’re better than any CD. Why? Because your baby gets to hear what she loves the most – and that’s your voice. Keep the lyrics simple and repetitive and include your baby when you sing: Stop and watch her, then comment on her smiles, leg kicks or anything else…

2. Exaggerate when you sing and sing in baby talk or infant-directed style.

Don’t be afraid to go overboard: Be expressive in face and tone and sing enthusiastically. Make your voice and face shine. Babies love this style of singing even more than when you sing in your normal way. Even though any kind of singing is great.

So what’s baby talk or infant-directed style singing?

You go up higher in your pitch, and then go down lower – you cover a larger vocal range. Also, stretch out your words, and exaggerate your lip and mouth movements. This way your baby gets to listen to you and she gets to watch your lips and mouth move – and that’s pretty exciting if you’ve ever watched yourself doing this in the mirror.

3. Adjust how and what you sing depending on your baby’s state.

If he’s tired, sing a soothing lullaby. If he’s all alert, sing an upbeat, more energetic song.

4. Integrate your child’s name in songs.

He gets to hear his name often and can become familiar with it.

5. Integrate songs into daily routines.

Combining daily routines, such as waking up, bathing, going to bed, etc. with songs gives the baby predictability and safety. Over time, she’ll associate certain noises, actions and words with the situation about to happen which fosters understanding. For example, make up a simple bath time song: It’s BAAATH TIME, it’s BAAATH TIME! Let’s make the water run…shhhhhh, shhhhh, shhhhh!

6. Combine songs with simple actions and make singing interactive.

Include your baby early through gentle motions & movements. For example, make up simple ‘kiss’ or ‘touch’ songs, where you gently kiss or touch the body part you sing about: I’m kissing your NOSE, your NOSE; I’m kissing your TOES, your TOES. Or, use popular children’s songs and bring in simple hand motions such as in ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’, …

7. Sing nursery rhymes, often.

Rhymes are fun and educational. They help young children build sound awareness necessary for reading later on. Use popular children’s nursery rhymes, or make up your own rhymes: SASHA, where’s your EAR, your EAR, oh your EAR is over HERE, etc.

8. Integrate musical instruments and other props as you sing.

Get a rattle and tap your child’s knee, as you sing I’m tapping Maya’s KNEE, I’m tapping Maya’s KNEE, .. As she grasps the instrument, she practices her grip, eye-hand coordination and fine-motor skills. Or get the squeaky duck, and make up a squeaky duck song while you have the baby follow the duck with her eyes – once to the left, then to the right.

What are songs your baby loves?

How do you use singing and music in your home?

Do you have a ‘music’ basket? What would you put in it?

I’d love to hear from you. Share your experiences with other parents and young children by submitting pictures, videos or stories on Parent Share.

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Looking for a resource to more closely tune in to your child and foster learning all around as you build a strong foundation together, check out my new book: Raising A Talker: Easy Activities for Birth to Age 3.

Click here to find out more about it and read excerpts.

More information – Gryphon House