It is time to put on your singing hat…even if you cannot sing! I recently posted this picture on our facebook page so you can be sure that I am no professional singer (even though I sing all day long around kids)!
I share this as I need for you to let loose and understand that you do NOT have to be any good at singing to have fun singing with your child. Of course, if you have a child who asks you not to sing and prefers the “real version” (or else they go into meltdown mode) you can always google the songs and find them on youtube to play off the computer. It’s always hard for me NOT to sing as I use singing so much in therapy and make up my own songs to familiar tunes as I go through the day!
Now before I provide you with a list of songs that I use and recommend you sing with your kiddo, there are 4 points we need to cover when it comes to singing with your kiddo!
- SPEED OF THE SONG
The speed at which you sing the song will make a HUGE difference for your child. So if you have a child who does not NEED to hear the youtube version and will tolerate your voice, then you can control the speed. Slow it down! One way to do this is to make the vowels longer (I am thinking a video next Monday may help to clarify this further!) For now, it might look like “theeeeee wheeeeels oooooon theeeeee buuuuuus goooooo rouuuund aaaaaand rouuuuuund…” If it feels painfully slow to you, then you are doing it right!
The reason we slow down the speed is that it gives your child an opportunity to process all that they are hearing at a slower speed that may be more inline with the rate they normally process speech and language. After all, if you have a child with a delay, chances are they need a little extra time to make sense of the words they are hearing.
- THE WORDS & REPETITION
Next we want to consider the words in the song we are asking your child to sing. Songs with words that are long and complicated are not ideal! Think SIMPLE and consider songs you learn in preschool for a place to start (this is where the list below will come in handy). Just like we wanted with our books for apraxia of speech, we want songs that have repetitive phrases in them. This gives opportunities for your child to hear the same words/phrases over and over. The more they hear them, the more likely they are to take a risk and attempt to say words/parts of the phrase when they sing along.
- CHANCES TO FILL IN THE BLANK
When we sing the song we can stop and see if your child will fill in a word at the end (or in the middle) of a phrase. For example, in “head shoulders knees and toes” you might start singing “heeeeead, shouuuuulders, kneeeeees aaaaaaand ________” leaving “toes” out to see if your child will fill it in. They might not initially but if you sing it enough (and they enjoy singing!!) they WILL try to fill it in (even if they just make a “t” or “oh” sound to start!)
- YOU CAN ALWAYS CHANGE THE LYRICS
Sometimes the lyrics may be too much or too complicated for your child. If that is the case, just repeat one phrase over and over again (even if that is not how the song usually goes). So what does this look like? With the song “If you’re happy and you know it” it goes “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it and you really wanna show it, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.” So how can you easily change this to make it simpler? Replace “and you really wanna show it” with the repetitive phrase “if you’re happy and you know it” so it sings like this: “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if youre happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it, if you’re happy and you know it, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” Do you see how that is simpler? Give it a try…there is no right or wrong way to change up a song’s lyrics. Just try to change it to a phrase that you are already repeating in the song to keep it simple!
So what are some songs you can use to start this process?
- The Wheels On The Bus
- Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
- A Hunting We Will Go
- Alice The Camel/Sally The Camel
- Old MacDonald Had A Farm
- Apples & Bananas
- The Bear Went Over The Mountain
- Where is Thumbkin?
- The Farmer In The Dell
- If You’re Happy & You Know It
- 5 Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed
- Ants Go Marching
- Ring Around The Rosie (sing it repeatedly as you go in circles!)
- He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands
- Hurry, Hurry, Drive The Firetruck
- London Bridge
- Mary Had A Little Lamb
- The Muffin Man
- Polly Put The Kettle On
- Row Row Row Your Boat (sing it repeatedly)
- Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me
- Skip To My Lou
- This Little Light Of Mine
- Slippery Fish
Have fun singing this week. Comment below and let us know what songs you would add to the list!