Music with Babies and Toddlers: Part 3 – Songwriting for Daily Use

peekaboo_babyIn my previous posts “How I Use Music With My Son” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 and my more recent posts “Music with Babies and Toddlers” Part 1 and Part 2, I shared how I have used music with my son during the first 2 years of his life. In today’s post I wanted to share a little more about how I have written songs to use along side our daily living tasks.

 

Many people may think that they are unable to write songs and leave the songwriting for the professionals. I have found that it is very easy to write songs and the more you do it the better you get at it. I don’t claim to be a great songwriter (or singer) but I am not writing songs to perform in front of an audience. My audience is my baby, and really he is my greatest audience – he thinks I’m fabulous! If you don’t know that your baby prefers your voice, just google it to find tons of articles to prove that indeed he or she does! (Here is one example)

 

The songs that I’m writing for my baby have a purpose. The purpose is not to record them or perform them or try to make a million dollars. The purpose is simply to bond with my baby, increase his language input from an early age, and to offer him familiar songs which cue him to the activity we are engaging in.

 

As research has shown that babies prefer their mother’s voice (and their other well-known caregivers), when I sing to my baby, gazing into his eyes, it soothes him. He recognizes my voice and it brings comfort to him. This is a great tool for bonding. I’ve shared before that I often sing to him to grab his attention or calm him when he’s upset. My voice and the use of music are powerful tools.

 

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Using songs in daily living offers great early language input for babies. When I am washing my son in the tub and singing the “Bath Song” I am describing what we are doing; I am putting words to our actions. I am offering him a repetitive song that we use every time we take a bath which cues him to the activity and in turn reminds him, “Oh this is bath time; we’ve done this before”. The familiarity reminds him what we are doing and it makes him feel calm and safe.

 

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Its never too early! During my son’s first year I made a name sign for his room. I went to Michaels and bought some large wooden letters and then decoupaged scrapbook paper on them. I then hung it right above his changing table. Sometimes while changing his diaper I will sing his “Name Song” and point to the letters as I sing. While he isn’t spelling his name yet, he has learned quickly that this is his “name” and even sings the “S” and the “name” along with me at the end (see song below).

 

Many of our songs also offer social language input. “I See You” is an example of this. In the song I am telling my son that I see him and that he sees me. We are two separate people (even though it takes quite awhile for babies to get to the point in their development where they actually start to recognize that they are a different being from their mother) and that we see each other. Smiling and gazing into his eyes while singing this song communicates that I am happy that I see him and that I love him.

 

 

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Songwriting: So how do I actually write the songs I use? Well sometimes I take a familiar song and just change the words to match our activity. So the tune (or the melody) is the same as a song that someone else has written, but the words are different. I write the words to fit our actions. Other times I start with an idea and some words, and just start singing them instead of speaking them. It may take several times before I come up with a good tune and enough words or phrases to make the song sound complete, but eventually I get it. And my son is very patient with me through the process!

 

I wanted to give you a few examples of some of the songs I use. Feel free to use them if they work for you or use them as inspiration to write your own songs. Remember, they are simple songs just for you and baby!

 

(To hear the audio clip, click to the left of the 00:00)

 

Bath Time Songs

 

Bath Song (original)

Washy-washy-washy in the bathtub

Washy-washy-washy in the tub

Washy-washy-washy in the bathtub

Washy-washy-washy in the tub

First we pour the water on our bodies

Then we add the soap and scrub, scrub, scrub!

First we pour the water on our bodies

Then we add the soap and scrub-a-dub!

 

Bath Toys (original)

Look at all my toys, my bath toys

Lots of fun for me to play

Look at all my toys, my bath toys

Which one will I choose today?

 

Drying Off (sung to I’m Gonna Shake My Sillies Out)

I’m gonna dry, dry, dry my body off

Dry, dry, dry my body off

Dry, dry, dry my body off

After I take my bath!

 

Other Songs for Daily Living

 

Diaper Song (original)

Let’s check your diaper, Let’s check your diaper

See what we’ve got, See what we’ve got

Do you have pee-pees, do you have poopies

Let’s find out, let’s find out! (or) No you don’t (or) Yes you do

 

I See You (original)

I see you, I see you

You see me, you see me

I see you, I see you

You see me too

 

Where is (Lucas)? (original; play with Peek-a-boo game)

Where is Lucas, where can he be?

Where is Lucas, where is he?

I will find him wait and see

Where is Lucas, where is he?

 

L-U-C-A-S’ Name Song (original)

L-U-C-A-S

L-U-C-A-S

L-U-C-A-S

That’s how I spell my name!

 

Rolling Over (original; song to encourage rolling over)

Rolling, rolling over

Rolling, rolling over

Rolling, rolling over

I can roll!

 

So these are just a few examples of how you can add songs to your daily living tasks. As you can see they are very simple, and even sometimes silly, but believe me, baby will love them! Plus its a great way to practice your songwriting skills for when you might need to make some more complicated songs later on (like songs to teach math skills or history facts)!

 

Happy Songwriting!!

 

 

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