Everything sounds better in song

On Sunday afternoon, 15-month-old Smiley decided to have a tantrum of the most spectacular kind.

She threw herself onto her stomach and with arms and legs flailing she let rip with an ear piercing scream.

The sound jolted through me like an electric shock. I glanced over at Curly-locks (aged three) who was looking incredulously at me with her fingers in her ears.

We’d witnessed a couple of these tantrums from Smiley recently. We didn’t need to say anything to each other. We knew what we needed to do.

‘Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?’ we sang attempting to drown out Smiley’s screams.

‘Here I am. Here I am.’

Smiley stopped to listen. It was her song. Her medicine. She stopped crying, popped her thumb in her mouth, and moved over to me for a cuddle while Curly-locks and I finished our song, the tune a little less urgent and more soothing now.

Music is like medicine to my girls and a constant in our day.

Despite having a horrible voice, I sing virtually all day long with the girls. Singing and dancing is what we do to keep the good times rolling and to make the tears disappear when things have gone awry.

I have been singing to my girls from the day they were born.

In the early days with Curly-locks, I struggled to remember any nursery rhymes and found myself singing Katy Perry’s California Gurls to soothe her. Before long the rhymes came back and our days were more appropriately filled with Twinkle Twinkle and Incy Wincy rather than Daisy Dukes and bikinis on top.

While a lot of the time we simply enjoy rocking out to Justine Clarke, I also weave song into our daily activities, particularly boring activities, to make them a little fun.

‘Sing me a song about packing up,’ I will say to Curly-locks.

Her eyes will light up as she launches into song with the passion and energy of a seasoned broadway actress. A boring task is now a fun one.

‘Tidy up tidy up tidy up so we can make more mess to-mo-yoooo (tomorrow),’ she sings with gusto as she picks up her toys.

Other times she will launch into Dora’s celebratory, ‘We did it!’ song to celebrate a difficult task done well.

And then most evenings we finish the day with ‘Hi ho hi ho it’s off to bed we go’.

Considering we spend most of our day singing, I was intrigued when I recently heard about something called transition songs. I’d never heard of them before, but was quick to discover it was something I was already doing with the girls in my own individual way.

By all accounts, teachers sometimes use transition songs as a way to prepare children for a new activity.

Instead of abruptly stopping one activity and starting another before the child has time to know what is going on, a rhyme is used to help prepare them for what is next.

This theory makes sense to me as we’ve undoubtedly had a few meltdowns in the past when I’ve moved too quickly for the girls and not given them enough warning.

Giving them a little pre-warning through song seems to help make the transition easier and keep some of those spectacular tantrums at bay.

You can read more about transition songs here. In the meantime, I’m off to sing and dance my heart out with the girls πŸ™‚

Is singing a big part of your day with your kids? Any tips for dealing with toddler meltdowns? Please share below πŸ™‚

Linking up today with Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.

70 comments on Everything sounds better in song

  1. Lydia C. Lee
    January 28, 2014 at 6:17 am (4 years ago)

    My kids are constantly singing “What does the sock say?” (Annoying orange’s version of what does the fox say?) and that’s truly annoying, so I would argue not everthing is better in song…

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol, Lydia. Yes, I can see that would be slightly annoying πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Deb @ home life simplified
    January 28, 2014 at 6:33 am (4 years ago)

    I sang a lot when they were young, we had a wake up song for my oldest that hubby and I both sang. Now I sing to my Tweens to break up bickering and fights lol “stop fighting you silly silly girls, lets get along, what are do-oo-ing” etc lol I sing it high pitched instead of talking and nagging and it is helping me stay calm, so funny the difference between them being little and Tweens now, yet often the same issues appear (transitions, overtired, etc) xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm (4 years ago)

      I think that’s great that you still sing to them. I wander I’ll still be doing it 10 or so years down the track? x

      Reply
  3. Bec | Mumma Tells
    January 28, 2014 at 6:41 am (4 years ago)

    Singing and dancing is more normal in our house than eating veggies. ‘Nuff said? Ha! X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol, Bec. Sounds just like our house πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  4. Eleise @ A Very Blended Family
    January 28, 2014 at 6:56 am (4 years ago)

    My daughter is a singer, she is constant with her words to a tune. She learnt it from my husband! Tips on dealing with toddler meltdowns……. wine?

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm (4 years ago)

      Ahh yes, that is also a tried and tested tactic of mine πŸ™‚ How lovely to have your daughter singing constantly. It makes for a happy home πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Emily
    January 28, 2014 at 7:04 am (4 years ago)

    Oh yes, everything becomes a song in our house. I can tell 3.5yo has realised I make most of them up on the spot, because she’s started doing the same. If we run out of bear songs for example, she’ll just start singing ‘I love be-ears, yes I do, and my mummy loves them too’ or similar to the tune of Twinkle.

    A friend of mine swears by a particular piece of music she introduced to her kids as their pack-up song. Now if she says it’s time to pack up all the toys and puts it on, they run around frantically putting things away until it’s over. It’s 3 minutes – long enough to pack up, not so long that they get bored and the song loses impact.

    Toddler meltdowns? My daughter has two kinds and they have to be treated very differently. One’s a leave her alone in her room to calm down kind, the other is a wrap-her-in-a-bear-hug until she stops kind. It’s a NIGHTMARE if you confuse them!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm (4 years ago)

      I bet it is, Emily! That pack up song sounds interesting. I have a mental image of her flicking on the CD player and the kids running around madly to get it all done before the song ends. Your 3.5 year old sounds cute. Love the bear song πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Me
    January 28, 2014 at 8:57 am (4 years ago)

    WOW – we never really sang to K but what a great idea. It sounds like singing really does help to calm down Smiley – so glad it works for you.
    Have the best day !
    Me

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you! I think it helps that I started this particular song at such a young age. I’m surprised at what a great effect it has on her. Have the best day too!

      Reply
  7. Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus)
    January 28, 2014 at 10:54 am (4 years ago)

    My little miss sings all the time. SHe makes up songs and sings to her brother. We sing together a lot too. She also sings transition songs.
    Sorry I have no idea how to soothe a toddler meltdown. I hope you find one though.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm (4 years ago)

      How cute that your little one sings to her little brother! It’s a beautiful thing to watch isn’t it?! x

      Reply
  8. SarahD @SnippetsandSpirits
    January 28, 2014 at 10:54 am (4 years ago)

    I always love how you describe your little cherubs it makes me smile. I also struggled in the beginning with remembering songs. Now you have where is Thumbkin stuck in my head? We make up songs also been singing the most ridiculous songs since the boys were teeny. As for tantrums it sounds like you are doing a brilliant job. It is all about distraction at that age I think. I used to try and find EP’s favourite book to distract him. Or when he was older I just ignored him and he soon got fed up. Happy Singing!!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol. Thank you! It sure is about distraction and misdirection at this age. They keep us on our toes!

      Reply
  9. Toni
    January 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm (4 years ago)

    I have never really been into singing much, apart from in the car when no-one can hear me, but I find myself singing all the time now. Half the time I’m singing to a rhyme tune, but just making words up as I go along. W.e also go to baby rhyme time at the library and the pool so I’m sure the real words will be embedded in my head soon.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm (4 years ago)

      I love baby rhyme time and singing with the kids at the pool. You’ll become a crazy singing von trapp family just like us in no time πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  10. Miss Cinders
    January 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm (4 years ago)

    Yep we sing here too. Most of my kids are well into the teenage years now, so they have *ahem* questionable lyrics sometimes.

    Silly songs about every day stuff makes for a lot of laughing as well. And we all know laughter is the best medicine πŸ™‚

    MC xo

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm (4 years ago)

      So true, Miss Cinders! Yes, I bet your kids’ songs are a little more colourul than ours πŸ˜‰ x

      Reply
  11. Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel
    January 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post! Little Red is 16 months old and not a fan of the car so when she cracks it on the way home from daycare (a 20 min drive), we all break into You Are My Sunshine. Even when she shrieks at us during the day, my three year old immediately breaks into song, which is gorgeous.

    I have always warned the kids about transition – letting them know we’ll be packing away/leaving/doing something else in 5 minutes, and it really helps. But a song is a great idea. I might have to get into that.

    (BTW Love Justine Clarke! If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you check out Rhys Muldoon’s CD – he’s hilarious, and catchy, and loves to sing about poo.)

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh man! If he sings about poo we’re totally getting it lol. It sounds like it will definitely appeal to my three year old who finds talking about poo simply hilarious. I can just imagine you all breaking into song on the way home from daycare. We were doing the same thing this afternoon!

      Reply
  12. Josefa @always Josefa
    January 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm (4 years ago)

    Singing is a beautiful way to spend your day! Not exactly singing, but when our boys moved into big boy beds and into their very own bedroom we would play music to them as they drifted off to sleep – much better to fall asleep to the sounds of Somewhere Over the Rainbow than the panic of sleeping on your own xx Josefa #teamIBOT

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 8:38 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh that is lovely. We used to use soothing music in the early days too. What a lovely way to fall asleep x

      Reply
  13. EssentiallyJess
    January 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Love the idea of transition songs. I used them a bit when I would help out in kids church, especially packing up things, or even just ‘sitting on the mat’. I used to sing a lot more with my kids than I do now. Don’t know why I stopped but this makes me want to start again πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 8:38 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh great πŸ™‚ You seriously should break into song every now and then. It’s good for the soul πŸ™‚

      Reply
  14. Lauren
    January 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm (4 years ago)

    There is a lot of singing at our house too. We discovered the magical power of the wiggles during our big road trip over Christmas. Anytime our toddler starts to lose it, I just sing a few lines of Hot Potato and all is well with the world again.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol Lauren. That reminds me I need to pack our Justine Clarke CD when we go on our big trip in the next few months πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. x Sarah Kate x (@SKK25)
    January 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm (4 years ago)

    I completely agree! I’m a day care mum and I sing ALL DAY LONG! We have a song for EVERYTHING! I love it so much though so it makes it that extra bit fun!!! x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh that’s awesome Sarah! I can imagine you could teach me a thing or two x

      Reply
  16. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    January 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm (4 years ago)

    So gorgeous! There is nothing more uplifting that singing… unless it’s me singing (in which case it is definitely not uplifting lol!). xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 8:41 pm (4 years ago)

      Hahaha Lucy. You should hear me sing too. It’s not pretty eithe πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  17. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    January 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm (4 years ago)

    My daughter won’t sleep without a back scratch and a lullaby, which is me making up some song, well now it’s humming as the words used to make her think too hard about stuff! We have radio on 24/7 and we sing ALL the time, especially in the car! Love that you do too x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm (4 years ago)

      I love that your daughter won’t go to sleep without a back scratch. Mine won’t go to sleep without a scratch on her arms and legs. She got this from her Daddy who loves a back scratch. How funny πŸ™‚ xx

      Reply
  18. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    January 28, 2014 at 11:06 pm (4 years ago)

    We’ve always been big singers here too Renee! No reason needed, I’ll just break into a silly song and Bella dissolves into a fit of giggles. I’d like to think that won’t ever change.
    Your girls are so lucky you make things fun for them. xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 29, 2014 at 5:59 am (4 years ago)

      Aww thanks Lisa πŸ™‚ I hope it doesn’t change either. Singing definitely lightens the mood πŸ™‚ xx

      Reply
  19. Tegan
    January 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Aww this a beautiful post. Mr 4 is often amazed that I know the words to the wiggles songs. I’ve listened to them enough that I probably know them better than anything on the Top 40 lol!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol. I know what you mean, Tegan! I rarely listen to my kind of music anymore πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Martine@themodernparent
    January 29, 2014 at 7:59 pm (4 years ago)

    I am always singing but not always with the same response you get! Last week I was making up a song and my 2 year old kept putting his hand on my mouth! I do use distraction however as a way to divert the tantrum and am getting good at knowing exactly when they will rear their head so I am able to get in quick!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm (4 years ago)

      Good for you, Martine! I think that’s definitely the key sometimes, getting in quick!

      Reply
  21. Neets
    January 31, 2014 at 7:14 am (4 years ago)

    We sing a bit here too Renee. Unfortunately it doesn’t help the tantrums of my almost 3 year old! I’m going to try it when the kids clean their room ;). You should have seen the tantrum Miss H pulled when we dropped Master J at his first day of kinder this week! πŸ™

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh no, Neets! That does not sound like fun at all! Maybe save the song for cleaning up as you say and general silly shenanigans πŸ™‚

      Reply
  22. Shelley @ Money Mummy
    January 31, 2014 at 7:48 am (4 years ago)

    We did it a lot when my daughter was little but unfortunately it does not work any more πŸ™ Yesterday we played a game about putting things in their right place when cleaning up after a huge play date…. that worked quite well for us, so hopefully it continues!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm (4 years ago)

      I hope so, Shelley πŸ™‚ Kids are such a moving feast aren’t they?! One minute something will work and the next it won’t. We have to constantly be on our toes πŸ™‚

      Reply
  23. Kim@spiritedmama
    January 31, 2014 at 8:35 am (4 years ago)

    Love it! I’ve been reading a bit about transitions lately but hadn’t heard of this activity – it makes perfect sense. My daughter doesn’t have tantrums of the traditional kind anymore but gets anxious easily and bursts into tears and wails of dread. I might try the singing as I don’t handle it well, I get really stressed by it and we end up arguing. I’ve been looking for solutions as I don’t want to worry her more, this might be a nice pacifier for us both.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 1:35 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh I really hope it works for you both, Kim. The poor love.

      Reply
  24. Caroline Raj
    January 31, 2014 at 9:15 am (4 years ago)

    This post made me just break out in the biggest smile. Only yesterday I was having a manicure and hoping that our 10 month old daughter would behave…but no….she started to scream for attention. I then spent 15 mins in the shop singing to her and she quietened down. It works (but not sure if the rest of the people in the shop liked my singing!!) Great post

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol Caroline. Yes, that’s the risk you take. I think everyone in the local supermarket has put me down as the resident loony πŸ™‚

      Reply
  25. Amanda @ Cooker and a Looker
    January 31, 2014 at 9:29 am (4 years ago)

    My girls are constantly singing. Sometimes I catch them singing different songs sitting right next to each other. My littlest is struggling with the terrible twos at the moment. You’ve inspired me to see if singing to her will help. Thanks xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm (4 years ago)

      That is so cute that they sing side by side, but different songs! Yes, try singing with her. I’ll keep my fingers crossed x

      Reply
  26. Jaz @ Red Dolls
    January 31, 2014 at 12:33 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve sang violent Femmes to my kids before for lack of nursery rhyme springing to mind. Both of mine have a tailored version of Twinkle Twinkle with their names in it at bedtime. I have the same cds or radio on in my car all the time and I still laugh when miss 3 walks around singing random songs that I’m sure are now burnt into her brain.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm (4 years ago)

      It is amazing what they can remember. I guess that’s repetition for you. I love the idea of a tailored version of Twinkle Twinkle.

      Reply
  27. Kate
    January 31, 2014 at 1:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this. I used transition songs as a teacher but forgot about them in the context of parenting, I’ll have to bring them back in. Distraction is seriously gold in parenting isn’t it πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      January 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm (4 years ago)

      It sure is, Kate. Distraction, misdirection, we’d be lost without it!

      Reply
  28. Maxabella
    January 31, 2014 at 7:59 pm (4 years ago)

    Just like you, we sing all day. I’m sure we sound dreadful, but not to us. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm (4 years ago)

      I often wonder what the neighbours think! πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  29. Kate
    January 31, 2014 at 8:10 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve been stuck singing ‘sing a rainbow’ every night for the past two years as it was all I could think of when trying to convince my little one that I couldn’t sing the Spanish lullaby my husband got him hooked on… this is better, I said. Now I’m the one hooked! I smiled reading about tantrums. Mine, thank goodness, is slowly growing out of them. Yay!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh good for you, Kate!! I can’t think how sing a rainbow goes. Sounds familiar though. I will have to you tube it πŸ™‚

      Reply
  30. Grace
    January 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm (4 years ago)

    Singing’s a big part of our lives. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help too much with tantrums. My singing voice winds them up even more! Such a pity. I always fancied myself as a pretty good singer. Heh πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm (4 years ago)

      You’re an amazing singer, Grace! I hate to think what they’d do if they heard my voice πŸ™‚

      Reply
  31. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    January 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm (4 years ago)

    We are a musical house too, always singing and having music on. And always lots of dancing.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm (4 years ago)

      It makes for a happy home, Jodi πŸ™‚

      Reply
  32. Kathy
    February 1, 2014 at 8:53 am (4 years ago)

    Lovely Renee – we are signers too…the best sort are the made up ones, although the music faded out as our Miss Yin aged out of it being cool in any way! Little Yang is finding his voice and amusing us with his little songs these days (he sings quite well).

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm (4 years ago)

      That’s so cute, Kathy. I guess we have to enjoy these moments while we can before they think it isn’t cool anymore πŸ™‚

      Reply
  33. Angels Have Red Hair
    February 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm (4 years ago)

    Car trips are when the singing happens around here … the louder the better :0)

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 2, 2014 at 6:35 am (4 years ago)

      That sounds like so much fun! I can just picture you all πŸ™‚

      Reply
  34. Jane @ The Hesitant Housewife
    February 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh yes! I am completely tone deaf, however my daughter has always been soothed by song, so I find myself singing in all manner of awkward situations πŸ˜‰ I often joke to my husband that we live in a musical! Will check out the transition songs, i’ve never heard of them either. Thanks for sharing xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 2, 2014 at 6:35 am (4 years ago)

      And thanks for visiting, Jane. Yes, sometimes I feel like the singing Von Trapp family. I love living in a musical πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  35. Sonia Life Love Hiccups
    February 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm (4 years ago)

    oh do we sing!!!! I suck at getting the words right and I am always being corrected by the kids, but we sing and we dance and we sound and look awful but do it anyways πŸ™‚ xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      February 2, 2014 at 6:36 am (4 years ago)

      Sounds like awesome fun, Sonia. I can just imagine you getting the words wrong and being corrected by the kids πŸ™‚ x

      Reply

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