Ideally, as parents, we would prefer to trust our instincts. However from time to time, we might pay a brisk visit to google and search for an edge, some information that will tick all the right boxes and put our minds at ease. Is that what actually happens? Or do we get lost in all the ideas and opinions, forgetting why we came?
The semi-sad reality is that the most clicked on words/phrases from google searches are: “how to” or “free” and no search would be complete without “tips,” “why,” “best” and “tricks.” The quadrillion dollar question you may be asking yourself is, how does this help me as a parent and more importantly my child?
Information is only half the battle or perhaps a battle in itself. Synthesising it into a simple life is the gold. So what do our kids need from us as parents? Love, of course. The dedication to keep growing, would be up there. Our trust within the context of their age, another. Do they need us to possess some sort of googability? Actually, I’m not so sure. It’s an important question and the answer cannot be static, it will continue to evolve as they do. A bit like the algorithms on google.
Firstly, I believe they need us not to panic or if we are to panic, do it profusely in another room somewhere quiet. Secondly, they need us to listen. To take them seriously where they are, even if they don’t take you anything. We must strive to be laid back. To be quietly confident, setting a consistent example and clear boundaries, yet with the flexibility to allow them to create enjoyment for themselves and enough freedom for them to grow. If you cannot manage this, use the power of the force. If you don’t have kids and this is putting you off, er, warning, this blog entry may be an effective contraceptive.
About ten years ago, it was all about work life balance. In today’s oligarchy, it’s all about work, no life, imbalance. How do we “sell” this over extension to our kids? We used to go on picnics, now the traffic jam is our picnic! (Saw this on Peppa Pig) Hmm, smell those possible carcinogens.
As a parent, teacher and part time comedian, I’m really pro active about providing a realistic balance between physical and mental activity for kids. This foundation will enable them to develop both their fine and gross motor skills and critical thinking skills in a holistic way. I believe music needs sport and to some degree, sport needs music. This relationship must be nurtured and appreciated if we are to raise kids with the potential to be greats and let’s be clear, we need all the help we can get these days.
Music is a great gift to share with your children. Once autonomous, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Handy at family gatherings too! It’s a language and a skill that can be used throughout a lifetime. If I had a dollar for the amount of times I heard somebody say, ‘I wish I didn’t give up piano,” I could retire to the Caribbean and divert some funds to the Cayman Islands. Happily, most of the students I take on, leave many years later with a love of music that won’t leave them.
If you’re still wondering where to begin with your toddler, it’s prudent to break things into rhythm and melody at such a formative age. By keeping it simple, you can engage children and teach them through mirrored enjoyment. The physical aspects of music are particularly important early on, for example, marching or clapping in common time (1,2,3,4), dancing, jumping, listening and even additional singing if it’s a good day for you! This is a great way to start.
What I believe makes good parents and teachers is the ability to observe and listen. Ironically, all the things that also make really good kids.
You don’t need to be in a musical profession or be a musician to involve your children in music. There are amazing interactive toys on the market along with many instruments specifically designed for kids. Next time you’re shopping, check out the toy section. Like you haven’t been dragged their kicking and screaming before. Or if heading to the shops isn’t on your list of things to do, you can always check out a music app online.
The benefits of music lessons for children assist physical and mental development in so many ways. Not only are they developing and improving their hand-eye coordination, but they will also improve their concentration and develop a lot of self confidence. The positives are far reaching and go beyond music education.
The study of music engages both hemispheres of the brain and this skill is carried into adulthood. It also enhances spatial temporal reasoning ability which can assist in grasping concepts behind maths, science and engineering. Not to mention, it’s amazing to be able to play or sing a favourite song. You’ll get invited to a truckload of parties!