Sleep Tight: Music to Soothe Babies to Sleep

Bunny New JammiesThe old saying goes that music makes the world go ’round. At New Jammies, music helps our kids express themselves through movement, sharpen motor skills, and even fall asleep.

According to Kindermusik International, new research has shown that music therapy benefits babies, especially those born premature, in many ways. Kindermusik recently reported on the work of Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, assistant professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, in learning how music helps premature infants not just survive, but thrive, according to an article from the Kansas Health Institute.

Kindermusik says Hanson-Abromeit’s findings can be helpful for parents of infants, especially those born premature, but also for full-term babies, with these tips:

• Simple is best. Singing a favorite lullaby or children’s song to your little one can be the best kind of therapy you can give.

• Live music is better than recorded music. Premature babies in particular benefit the most from attentive, interactive musical experiences.

• Watch for baby’s cues, or non-verbal communication. For example, breaking eye contact, squirming or arching the back, or wrinkling the forehead are some of the signs from baby that it may be time to try something different.

• It doesn’t always have to stay the same. Changes to the music’s volume and tempo are ways of adapting and adjusting to baby’s cues.Musical experiences have the power to soothe. For a small baby who is often overwhelmed with external stimuli, music can help the brain organize at staying calm.

• Intentional loving experiences with music help the bonding process. There’s something very personal about a shared musical experience, especially one within the arms of loving parent-child connection.

PBS Parents suggests providing a “library of variety” for kids with a mix of genres and styles. In the story, “What Music Should My Child Listen To?” by Laura Lewis Brown, children need to sing, clap and dance along with the tunes in order to get the full benefits of music.

“Singing and moving to music tells the brain to make meaning of it, a cognitive process called audiation,” says the PBS Parents report. “Audiation in music is like thinking in language.”

To build a child’s music library, PBS Parents says to focus on interaction with the music that helps train the young musical ear.

“Remember above all to model your love for music. Sing, hum, dance or air guitar to your favorite songs, even if your child doesn’t like them. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing in tune or dance well, because you are showing them the joy of music.”

Rockabye BabyRockabye Baby
For music fun for both parents and kids, the Rockabye Baby is a series of rock and pop music transformed into soothing instrumental, baby-friendly lullabies. The rock lullaby series consists of more than 70 releases to date, including lullaby renditions of Bob Marley, U2, The Beatles, Coldplay, and Muse.

“The resulting albums are revolutionary yet reverential,” says the Rockabye Baby website, at http://www.rockabyebabymusic.com. “First and foremost, we’re fans, so we take care to make every album musically interesting enough to satisfy adult listeners. Believe me, making an album that’s gentle enough for sleeping babies but still entertains Mom and Dad is trickier than it sounds.”

In honor of the late David Bowie, Rockabye Baby is releasing renditions of his biggest hits this spring, on April 29. The CD features Bowie songs such as “Heroes,” “Changes,” “China Girl,” “Lets Dance,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Modern Love,” “Young Americans” and more. Fans can listen to clips and pre-order on iTunes here at http://www.rockabyebabymusic.com/david-bowie.html.

 

Play Right: Grow a Reader for National Reading Awareness Month

Dr. SuessAt New Jammies, we know the importance of reading to kids. Just 15 minutes a day of daily reading aloud prepares young children for learning and introduces new vocabulary.

“Reading aloud every day is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child to learn,” says ReadAloud.org. “Some children begin kindergarten having been read to as few as 25 hours, while their peers may have been read to as many as 1,000 hours. Every time you read to your child you are improving their learning advantage.”

With March being National Reading Awareness Month, ReadAloud.org is spreading the word on the importance of reading to children. The nonprofit organization says if a child is not reading at grade level by the end of the first grade, then there is an 88% probability the child will not be reading at grade level by the end of the fourth grade.

“A child is never too young to learn that books are fun, engaging, and something that your family values. Even a very young child can look at pictures, practice turning the pages, and hear you talk about the story,” says ReadAloud.org. “Reading aloud can easily become part of your daily routine, before bedtime or naptime or after mealtime. Make it fun. Don’t forget funny voices, sound effects, acting out parts of the story, and asking lots of questions.”

Through national surveys, ReadAloud.org estimates more than half the children in this country — 13 million children — will not hear a bedtime story tonight. By working with a coalition of organizations, ReadAloud.org hopes to change that. The organization’s 10-year campaign promotes a simple, powerful message: Read Aloud for 15 Minutes. Every Child. Every Parent. Every day.

Inspiring an early passion for books is key in growing a reading.

Grab Your HatThe National Education Association (NEA) is another organization working to inspire students to pick up a book and become lifelong readers. On March 2 every year, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, the NEA launches Read Across America. The annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading. According to the NEA, having kids read a lot is one of the crucial components of becoming a good reader.

“Young readers need to become practiced at recognizing letters and sounds. The only way to get good at it is to practice,” the NEA says. “Remember, it’s never too early to start. Begin reading to your child as an infant. Even babies love to hear your voice and to look at colorful pictures.”

The NEA offers “Tips for Reading Aloud” from the PBS “Between the Lions” Show. These suggestions for giving and getting the most out of a very special time of reading-aloud sessions with your child:

• Read to your child every day. If you can’t, ask someone else to be your child’s designated reader.

• Try to find a regular time and a quiet, comfortable place for reading together.

• Turn off other distractions, such as the radio or television.
• Read slowly enough so that your child has time to take in the story and look at the pictures.
• Children may enjoy holding the book or turning the pages. Invite your child to point to words on the page or help you read the words. Explain unfamiliar words.
• Read with expression. Try creating different voices for different characters.
• Encourage your children to ask questions about the characters, pictures, and words.
• Talk about the story with your child. Did he or she like it? Why?
• Your child may want you to read the same story over and over again. After several retellings, ask your child to tell you the story.
• Older children enjoy reading aloud, too. They can read their favorite parts, or you can take turns reading chapter books.
• Visit the Between the Lions web site (pbskids.org/lions) for more on children and reading.

The NEA suggest these successful reading tips for reading to infants and toddlers:

• Snuggle with your child with her favorite blanket or toys as you read.
• Read with expression using different voices for different characters.
• Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories. Give your toddler opportunities to repeat rhyming phrases.
• Use pictures to build vocabulary by varying objects and their colors.
• Use pictures to develop speaking vocabulary by talking about what is shown.
• Encourage your child to repeat what you say or comment on it. Encourage your child to ask questions.
• Provide models of interesting questions and examples of possible answers. “I wonder what is going to happen next? I think the rabbit will get lost because he is not paying attention to where he is going. What do you think?”
•Look for books that are about things that interest your toddler. For example, does your child like cars, insects, or animals?
• Make reading a habit for bedtime, after lunch, or after naptime.
• Give your child a chance to choose his own books. If your toddler chooses a book that is too long to hold his attention, read some and skip some, discussing the pictures and how they relate to the story.
• Read stories again and again. Your toddler enjoys repetition and it helps him become familiar with the way stories are organized