Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Toddler Tip Tuesday: Using Music to Transition

My husband took this picture. I laugh when I see it because of the irony between the beautiful photography and the location of Gummy's finger. To me it sums up perfectly what it's like to parent a toddler. They are these darling little creatures whose lack of true civilization always manages to break through. That's what makes a parent's job so tough. Domesticating little humans is not as easy as you'd think.

Surviving to tell the tale of one toddler hardly makes me an expert, but I've read a lot of ideas on teaching toddlers and have used some of them along with the things I've discovered myself. Good ideas on how to parent my sensitive, strong-willed boy always feel empowering to me, so I've decided to jump aboard the "Tip Tuesday" trend train with "Toddler Tip Tuesday". I would love to hear if you have tried similar things and what you have found that works for your family.

Today's tip is this: Use music to help with transitions. Almost every child has difficulty with transitioning activities at one point or another (many adults have trouble with this too). This is why you hear parents at the park giving their kids time limit warnings all the time: 10 minutes until we leave! 5 minutes until we leave! At home we transition all the time between activities like meal times, playing, running errands, getting ready for bed, cleaning up messes, reading books, and changing diapers. There isn't enough time to give ten minute warnings for each activity all day long.

I know  a lot of people who use the "clean up" song from Barney to help kids pick up their toys and move to something else. That's where I got the idea to make our own transition songs. Gummy hated leaving what he was doing when we needed to change his diaper, so I made up a simple upbeat song to sing while we go to change him. It has been SO much easier ever since.

I would say the best transition songs are simple with a lot of repetition so the child can memorize it easily and recognize it right away. A strong sense of beat gets them up and moving. It's also helpful if you can change the words to fit several activities. I tried making up a bunch of little songs and the two that stuck and work best for us are in the video below. The first is one we use during the day. The second we use at bedtime because it can be slower and more relaxed. "It's time to brush your teeth now" can be easily changed to, "It's time to change your diaper", "It's time to eat some dinner", "It's time to go downstairs", or anything else you need. There are no real rules, so try it out and have fun with it! Let me know if you've already tried this and if it works for you.

It is true that sometimes our transition song doesn't do the trick. If I sing it twice and don't have Gummy's attention, I give him the choice to walk himself to the place he needs to be, or else I will pick him up and move him. He always chooses to start walking by the count of three. He is FAR too independent to have Mommy carrying him around.

Do you have tips for making transitions easier?

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