Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kindermusik offers tools to help with daily rituals and routines to make each day with your musical child the best ever!

Splish, splish, SPLASH!

The following post was shared from Kindermusik educator Joy Granade.

Some days bathtime feels like a chore, just one more part of the day you have to slog through to get the kids into bed, so you can crash. However, over the years it’s been amazing to watch the way my hubby has turned bathtime into a special ritual with the boys.

When my oldest was first born, my hubby proudly declared that he wanted the responsibility for bathtime. At first I wasn’t quite so sure as his early attempts were filled with some crazy misadventures. But before long I saw what a treasure bathtime was quickly becoming for my two (and now three) guys.

Proud Kindermusik mama that I am, I have seen in action how important rituals and routines are for helping babies, toddlers, preschoolers (and even grownups) find order and peace in their days. Not only have I seen them ease tantrums and tears, but I’ve also watched how they help us as a family calm and connect to one another. So, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from watching my sweet hubby at bathtime with the boys:

Give yourself time. When you don’t feel rushed, you both can be really present in the moment, which helps you make bathtime a bonding experience but also helps your little one feel relaxed and ready for bed.

Bathtime can be playtime. And of course for little people, playtime is always learning time. Whether you just grab a small colander, funnel, and measuring cups from the kitchen or you buy bathtoys, water play is a blast and a great way to learn. Watch how things sink or float. Talk about colors. Count. Play with textures – washcloths or even sponges cut into shapes or animals. Identify letters (foam ones are fun to stick on the wall).

We even used bathtime to teach a lot of sign language (DUCK, WATER, BATH, IN, OUT, MORE). Our favorite toys: ducks, stacking cups with holes that water can drip through, and now dinosaurs we can bathe. I’ve also heard of families bringing baby dolls or cars to share in the bath as well.

Consider using your hands. Touch is one of the most important ways we connect. A long time ago my hubby declared that he didn’t want to use baby washcloths much, though they are sometimes necessary. He knew that the special act of washing our boys with his bare hands communicated love and affection in a way that a washcloth couldn’t.

Add a little massage. With our littlest babies in the Village classes, we often share a time of baby massage. Bathtime is the perfect time to extend this activity. Whether you just give a little extra squeeze as you scrub your little one down, or you pull out some lotion for a sweet massage after you’ve toweled off, this kind of loving, intentional touch aids in digestion, relieves colic, promotes health, and might even help your child sleep.

Even after we quit giving massages at bathtime, I continued to give backrubs and leg and arm massage as we snuggled before bed when I knew our kids were having a hard time settling down for bedtime.

And of course…make music! Because transitions have always needed a little extra creativity in our household, we made up a bathtime song years ago. (It sounds like the old Batman TV show theme but uses the word Bathtime instead of Batman. Only my hubby.) But it grew from there. Before long we had songs we sang to calm crying babies as we toweled them off, chants for counting “piggies” in the bath (“This little piggy…”), and even songs about scrubbing in the tub. Sometimes we just sang our latest favorite Kindermusik songs or even made up new silly songs. It never matterswhat we sing, it always makes bathtime easier – especially when it’s been a long day.

Time to get out of the tub! And last but not least, all good things must come to an end, and with bathtime, sometimes the fun is so great that getting out is hard. That’s why it’s a good idea to come up with a few rituals for getting out.

Over the years ours have evolved. For our babies, we sang lullabies to help ease the transition. Then as the boys grew, they counted down 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute till time to get out of the bath. Soon they were making choices about how to get out of the tub – stomp like a dinosaur out of the bath or jump like a monkey.

But the best was what happened on the other side of the tub wall. Whether they hid under the towel, played peekaboo, or pretended to be butterflies wrapped in a towel cocoon, there was always a big snuggle at the end of bath – my favorite part!

Special thanks to Kindermusik educator Joy Granade for sharing this post from her blog, Kindermusik with Joy. Information about Joy’s Kindermusik program in Kansas City, MO, can be found at her blog.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kindermusik offers so much more than just children's music

School readiness and reading readiness: Is it just for preschool?

Stop and be still.
Stop and wait.
Stop and listen.
Stop and think.
Here she goes!
In Kindermusik we are always working on these! In Kindermusik "Imagine That!" we are careful to be still and listen when we stop so we can hear the different timbre of the instrument we are to pick up and play along with "We Are Fine Musicians". It is more challenging to stop when we are making big movements as in our song "In the City" where we move our feet fast all around our big city until the "stop" signal is given with our voice and our hands making the American Sign Language motion for STOP! It takes body control and timing to stop so instantly! Yes, these 3 and 4 year olds can do it! They are thinking, listening and their ears and brain sends the signal then they DO stop! And they love it!

She stopped!

With Kindermusik "Our Time" (18 months to 3 1/2 years) we are stopping to listen to the tempo of each section of our dance "Lento y Rapido" We have to be still and quiet, and think about the speed of the music so we can dance according to that cue!They appreciate the ASL hand stop sign. It helps their picture thinking brain grasp the concept of "stop".

Watch her dance and STOP just like this!

Even in Kindermusik "Village" (newborn-18 months) we see and feel the adults stopping according to a musical cue but also on another level we are beginning to understand being in control of stopping each activity. As we sing "Bells away, bells away" and allow the children the time and trust they need to put the bells in the basket ALL BY THEMSELVES! Two really important elements help the children with this huge accomplishment. First we must be willing to take the time to allow them to realize they have the choice. When we are in a hurry we "help" them put them away quickly. That's when they hang on tighter! In essence we end up grabbing the bells to speed things up and which means it will take longer next week. Ah! I must ask the adults to do some hard work: stop for a moment. Stop and allow. Stop and wait. Stop and trust. If they don't put it in the basket the first week or even the second week...they will soon. I promise.

We all need practice stopping, don't you know. Funny how this goes in a circle. So, time for the grown ups to stop. Put on a lullaby, maybe dim the lights, sit in a big comfy chair or even lie down on the couch. Really stop. Stop and breath. Stop like we do in the Kindermusik Village class when all the adults take a minute to really stop and relax. Then come back and listen to (or read) this NPR article on self control:

For Kids, Self-Control Factors Into Future Success

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Traverse City makes Music Together!

Last night, I had the great privilege of being asked to judge the Grand Traverse Musicale music competition which featured students from the Grand Traverse Region, Traverse City High Schools and middles, schools and outlying areas. My daughter Lauren has competed for the past 4 years and has been lucky and honored to win a scholarship each year. This year she was not eligible as a senior, but she came to support all the young musicians. Wow, so much local talent!! So many wonderful singers and instrumentalists! The judges had a very difficult decision in deciding who would receive the scholarships this year!! The Grand Traverse Musicale gave out wonderful scholarships in the amounts of $750, $500, $250 and $150 (11 of them all together) We had a list of honorable mentions as well. It was an exciting and fun evening of music! I am looking forward to the June concert where these talented students will perform! I would love to know how many of the winners participated in early childhood music classes! Music and movement classes beginning early in a child's life definitely foster and encourage life long music making and a strong sense of musicality! To encourage your child to one day compete in a competition such as the one I judged, consider enrolling in Kindermusik now! Classes begin next week!! www.musicwithmelinda.kindermusik.net

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kindermusik 2011 spring classes to commence soon!

Kindermusik with Melinda Lise has some really great offers this semester for parents with newborns! Any infant up to the age of 11 weeks old can enroll for Kindermusik tuition FREE! Only home materials are required to participate in 15 weeks of wonderful, age appropriate activities meant just for your little one!! Babies 12 weeks up to the age of 6 months get $50 off of tuition and home materials for the spring 2011 semester!
For families with more than one child, we have special pricing for you! Two children enrolled in the same class, like a Family Time class, will get $100 off of the total price for a semester of Kindermusik! You can check out the schedule at www.musicwithmelinda.kindermusik.net Kindermusik is a great activity to do with friends! Call a friend and enroll together! You'll make some great memories that will last a lifetime!
Kindermusik really is the single best choice you can make for your family when it comes to finding the perfect activity for you and your child. Children's music programs developed by top professionals in our country and run by trained and devoted teachers, like myself, are what sets Kindermusik apart from other choices! Come try a class for yourself!! A complimentary demo class will be held Wednesday February 2nd, 10:30 a.m.!