Parents always love to dish out advice or recommendations to other parents. I think that's part of the job description. Most of the time I'm sure it feels like your spinning your wheels trying to solve some parenting "problem". When we finally find something that works, usually by accident, we want to share it and spare others the learning process we went through. It's only natural to want to share our experiences. It builds community and a sense of I'm not alone in this.
I've mentioned in the past that when I had my first daughter I was reluctant to leave my comfort zone. My comfort zone being my house. However, my daughter was shy and nervous around others, so I felt we needed to get out and socialize. I didn't want her to be a shy wallflower forever. It's no fun. The best way, in my mind, to overcome something is to just do it. So we signed up for a host of Mommy and Me type classes and thrust ourselves into the outside world. Yikes! It was one of the best parenting decisions I've made thus far. Hopefully I'll have another one before she's a teenager.
This is the sharing part. One of the classes I signed her up for was called Making Music Meaningful. This is an amazing class for both parent and child. Actually, lots of grandparents take their grand kids too. The program includes children from four months up to four years. Classes are divided into different age groups all with music, songs and activities appropriate for that group. The kids get to explore and have fun with instruments like maracas, drums, and bells. There are lots of songs and nursery rhymes accompanied with bounces, dancing and skipping. They also listen to music played on the guitar, flute and xylophone. Often when the kids are older they find their way into the circle to clap and dance along with the music.
I started taking my oldest daughter with she was fourteen months old. For the first term she was quiet, taking everything in, but enjoying it all the same. By the next term she surprised me. She wondering into the circle by herself and danced and bopped to the music! She only became more outgoing and happy as time went on. It was something that we both really enjoyed and looked forward to attending together. She stayed in the class until she was two and a half and loved every minute of it. Now my second daughter attends the same program. She's been going since she was three months old along with her sister. Music is in her blood. It calms her when she's sad or stressed and it makes her smile more broadly when she's happy. She's fourteen months now and claps and bops to the music when she's there. It's made a huge impact on my kids and for the better. Now songs and music are part of our lives everyday. If you're looking for an activity to share with your kids I highly recommend it to everyone. If you want to learn more, check out the Making Music Meaningful page.