“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
A few weeks ago, when Christopher Plummer, who played Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” passed away, I was saddened by the news but remembered the movie he and Julie Andrews starred in. A flood of warm memories of the music lessons and songs I had enjoyed so much filled my heart.
I know we all can reflect on when Julie Andrews taught the children the music scale of “Do, a deer, a female deer, re, a drop of golden sun, mi, a name I call myself” and on and on it went.
Young children just simply delight in music and song. God loves to hear our praise. Your children will love to hear you read from the book of Psalms. Look at Psalm 19, which begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” In the preschool where I am blessed and love to teach Bible, we sing our Bible lessons and verses.
Even little babies are very aware of and sensitive to the rhythm, intonation and tempo of music. Studies have shown that infants can discern musical styles, and we early-childhood teachers observe this each day. It’s such a joy to hear early childhood teachers rock in a rocking chair and sing to the little babies. It’s even more special for mommies to sing to their babies. An infant quickly recognizes his mother’s singing voice. Young children love to repeat familiar tunes. If you walked through the preschool halls at Trinity United Methodist Preschool in Opelika, you would hear little voices of praise and joy coming from the classrooms. This shows love to Jesus’ little sheep.
When teaching toddlers, I learned quickly that they are great imitators. Toddlers love to do songs that involve motions with their hands and feet. Preschool-age children enjoy music just for music. They are not concerned about pitch or the right key. They love to sing and hum when they’re playing and doing their little jobs. When children get older, they are taught in a group setting. As we model Christ, children see and follow our example.
As an early-childhood teacher, I love to sing songs to these young children as they go through the transitions of subjects or centers. Children love and respond happily to music directions. Try it at home.
Playing music in your home or car is thoroughly enjoyed by your young child. Music can definitely set the mood for a happy day. Wake up your young child with a cheerful song. Lower the windows, especially during the summer, for your young children to listen to the morning chirps of the birds. When your children take afternoon naps or go to sleep at night, sweet lullabies relax them and help them drift off to sleep. Moms and dads, there are so many CDs and DVDs out there to entertain your child for hours.
Music activities are enjoyed by toddlers and preschool children. Songs such as The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round,” “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” “London Bridge” and “Jesus Loves Me involve your young children in the words and activities of the songs. These songs help in the language-arts area of comprehension and the physical domain of coordination as well as putting God’s Word to heart.
Around your house, young children love to make their own homemade instruments with paper plates, beans, rice, pots, pans, spoons or other kitchen utensils. Staple together two paper plates, but leave an opening to pour beans or rice in the hole between both paper plates. Staple the hole together after you have poured the beans or rice. This becomes a great tambourine. Empty oatmeal boxes make great drums. Young children love to march around and make their own music. They simply love music and motion.
Children love to do moving exercises with music. I love to teach young children to dance, skip, run and jump to different rhythms. They love to do this. It’s so much fun to imitate animals to the sound of music.
Clapping a simple rhythm helps your young child with comprehension and memory-making. Using music to help your young children memorize words, math facts or other lists plants the lists in their memories. No matter how far off-key you may be, singing stories to children will be a warm and favorite time of their day.
There are so many ways for you as a parent to share the gift of music with your children. It embeds in their memories and hearts a joy that they will remember all their lives. Maybe heartfelt music will help your little one to learn subjects with excitement and joy. Wake up your young child with a song on your heart. Plant a song in your heart as well.