Music with small children: simple strategies for parents and caregivers

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Music, Rhymes and Fingerplays:

Follow the child’s lead; be gentle, especially with infants, and respectful of all. If he doesn’t like bouncing, tickling, clapping or moving limbs, then stop.

With infants, begin “wiggle songs” on the toes, and later add the fingers. Eventually, the child will manipulate your fingers!

Let children pace the music. Sing higher rather than lower, slower rather than faster. Go ahead and encourage them to clap, do hand motions, and then let them be. It’s okay if the children just watch. (Be sure parents know this too!)

Be creative (and goofy!).  Change words to add animal sounds, reflect where in the world you are, use child’s name. Laugh and have fun.

Use songs for transitions or repeated activities. Change words as new situations occur. In a pinch, sing what comes into your head!

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