So often these days many of us have forgotten the nursery rhymes and lullabies that the generations before us used to sing. We have forgotten the virtue of singing to our newborns as a means of soothing, connecting through play or aiding in daily routines. Many of us are too shy to use our singing voices, unsure of how we sound or simply what to sing. Developing the confidence to use your voice for the benefit of your baby can be a powerful parenting tool.
DO IT FOR BABY
Young babies are tiny, vulnerable creatures that exist in a world of touch, sound and light. They have no control over their movements or environment and do not understand language yet. Using your singing voice can give your baby security and confidence at this early stage. Exploring and using different tones in our voices can aid comfort, soothing and play. Softly sing a lullaby at bedtime or sing a silly song when they need a distraction.
DO IT FOR YOU
Singing can support you emotionally at a time that is very tiring and draining. Using your voice can be a lifeline when babies are grizzly, colicky or fraught. Deep breathing during singing acts as a natural stress reliever to encourage relaxation and calm. The very act aerates the blood, creates endorphins, and lifts our mood when we are tired or struggling. Use your voice as a tool to diffuse stressful situations with your youngster such as tantrums, illness or upset.
DO IT FOR BONDING
A mother's voice is the first thing all babies respond to from birth. It's what they heard in the womb. Babies can recognise their mother's voice in a room full of noise. Singing to your little one face-to-face whilst using touch reinforces a strong bond between you and your baby. Smiling and maintaining eye contact while singing to your baby increases our special connection and aids in bonding with our little ones.
DO IT FOR ROUTINE
Getting baby into a routine early on can make a difference to how well they sleep at night - and we all recognise the benefits in that! Singing the same songs at the same times of the day can signal bath time, bedtime and play time. Level up your parenting with a repertoire of activity, distraction, soothing and playful songs to sing while changing nappies and getting baby dressed. If you don't know any songs, make up some of your own using familiar melodies.
When all else fails - sing!
Georgie Cooper is a community vocal coach and mother of 4. She runs the BabySong singing courses locally for young mums.