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 🙂
Is singing a big part of your day with your kids? Any tips for dealing with toddler meltdowns? Please share below 🙂
Linking up today with Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.