Everyday the energy my (almost) 3-year-old son expels makes my jaw drop. Music is one of the tools my husband David and I often use to channel this boundless energy.
I’m lucky that said husband is a composer and plays the guitar beautifully. From the moment we found out we were pregnant – almost 4 years ago now – David has been singing to our son. Back then, at night before we went to bed, David would make “whale sounds” on my belly to calm our growing baby down so I could get some sleep.
Here are my suggestions for using music to joyfully rein in that, at times, overwhelming kid energy in a way that helps us cultivate peace and connection.
I’ve divided this up into a daily ritual because “transitions” and other stressful times during the day offer great opportunities to stop for a moment and honor the shift from one activity to another… Music could be used a background, but it’s even more effective when there is an official music break.
- Some mornings we put recordings of birdsong on to help wake up – seems as though it helps us get out the door since it sounds as if we already are! Feel free to flap your wings like a bird.
- Once a week, my husband leads a drum circle at our little one’s school in Oak Cliff. An empty water cooler container makes a great makeshift hand drum – you can’t really destroy it! Drumming gives my husband time to connect with our son and watch him interact with his little friends.
- For those days where the little guy’s activity level is simply uncontained, we go to the drum room at Guitar center and just pound on the drums. He loves to try all the different kinds and colors of drums and observe older kids and adults play. Sometimes, we spot other parents there doing the same and that knowing smile between parents is a nice little connection.
- Ms. Paula Craig’s Musikgarten class is a real treasure. Ms. Paula is a wealth of Montessori knowledge for Dallas families. I don’t know what I would do without her.
- There are a variety of summer songwriting and music recording band camps in the area. In particular, these are great creative outlets for 7-12 year olds right before they go and get self conscious at puberty.
- Simply turn on a favorite song for dancing and singing time. My personal favorite this week: Sing to the Moon, Laura Mvula “Green Garden.”
We use ambient, drone or medieval music in the evening to slow down, unwind, and prepare for dinner and bedtime. I love to turn the following albums on in that late afternoon/early evening window we all know is prone to family meltdown (Ed. we call this time the witching hour)! On the occasion that I get enough cooking done to allow for a few minutes of mom/kid yoga – these records are great for that as well:
- Brian Eno – Ambient I: Music for Airports
- Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline
- Hildegard von Bingen – You really can’t go wrong with any of her albums.
- When my son was younger, we’d frequently go to bed with Essie Jain’s Light of Morning – an album of lullabies that get progressively more and more relaxed and spare as each track progresses. (This also makes a perfect baby shower gift for a new mom!)
Dr. Kate Naumes, ND runs a Holistic Wellness practice just off the Katy trail. She believes that healthy, happy, and fulfilled women are essential to a healthy, productive world. Learn more at naumesnd.com.