Tuesday 8 October 2013

The secret weapon every parent should remember

Help me it's stuck on One Direction!

Being a parent is bloody hard - no major revelation there. I've written about it quite a few times, anyone with kids themselves knows it, and even those who have only witnessed the crazed zombie look in parents' eyes in supermarkets also have a pretty good idea. Advice for struggling parents is everywhere you look - some of it great and some pretty average. But there's one very simple survival tool which doesn't get talked about that often, yet it's something I pull out multiple times a day. And that's music.

Here are 10 ways in which music helps me through the many challenges of having toddlers and makes me a better parent:

It helps me get stuff done
Singing to my one year-old when he's having his nappy changed often means he stops wriggling, I don't have to get cross and he doesn't try to smear poo everywhere.

It makes them eat their food (mostly)
When music is on at dinnertime the kids are often so distracted they actually eat their food instead of picking at it, throwing it or demanding something else I'm not going to give them.

It creates happy and peaceful atmospheres
Singing or playing music in places like the car, during bath time, or generally around the house puts everyone in a good mood and often diffuses tantrums and fighting (a friend of mine swears by Mozart for calm, peaceful playtime - I usually opt for fun, upbeat tracks).

It stops me boozing...kind of
Putting on the iPod for some celebratory tunes as it nears the end of the day usually delays me reaching for that beer or wine (but not by much)! 

It burns off energy
An after-dinner family disco in the living room is a great way to wear the kids out before bed (plus helps me zap a few calories while I'm at it and is lots of fun).

It buys me time
I can't tell you how many times I've been running late with making dinner or stuck in traffic, and turned a potential children meltdown into a sing-a-long by busting out something like 'Old MacDonald.'

It teaches them things
Songs are awesome for helping them learn things - and not just the alphabet. They can improve their memory, vocabulary, interaction and listening skills; and teach them pitch and rhythm. My husband and I also get our guitar out and let the kids strum the strings while we play, so they understand where music comes from. 

It makes life more fun
Having music playing when I'm doing chores makes them way more enjoyable and me a less cranky mum. I also sing a 'Good Morning' song when they wake up each day which gets us all off to a slightly brighter start.

It makes me feel sane
One of the favourite things my husband and I like to do is watch music videos on Foxtel on Saturday nights - who needs to get a babysitter and hit the clubs? The coffee table is my dance podium!

It makes life more beautiful
Hearing my eldest sing a song back to me, or cuddling my youngest who touches my face while I sing lullabies to him before bedtime is simply magical.
Music is such a simple way to bring more ease and fun into parenthood, and it doesn't have to be all Wiggles and Hi-5 either - my kids mostly listen to whatever I want to and they love it. So next time there's brown stuff literally hitting the fan, before you completely lose your mind, just hit the play button. Jimi Hendrix was on to something when he said "Music is my religion." I think all parents should follow suit - immediately.

Is music your parenting survival tactic? 
photo credit: superUbO via photopin cc


  1. I have to be a bit more selective with my playlists, I had some hip hop on the other day and suddenly realised it was NWA playing and the topic was something the Police, after turning around to see both boys head nodding (and the eldest is know to repeat what he hears at the moment) it was time to hit shuffle. So I put some Smiths on and they both went to bed all sad ;)

  2. You've inspired me, Suz. Music has been missing from our life. Somehow I can never coordinate the ipod being charged and the need for music. But everything you say here is true - music definitely makes life better. When I'm practising for a concert for my choir, Alfie sings along to the practice track in the car, it's so cute. He actually cried because our last performance got cut short and we didn't sing Man in the Mirror! great post x

    1. Awesome! Such an easy thing to do, but also so easy to forget sometimes. iPod it up, old school CDs, music clips on telly or plain old singing - works like a charm :)


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