How to Sing to Your Baby
Pretty much every book on pregnancy talks about the importance of talking and singing to your baby from the moment they are conceived, or at least starting in the twentieth week of gestation. Other books and websites are full of the benefits of singing with your baby as they grow and develop. But none of them really explain how to sing to your baby or help you make it part of your routine.
I have two groups of friends with babies, the “musicians” and the “not musicians”. The musicians as either having a degree in music or those of my friends who participated in music ensembles in college. “Not musicians” may have some musical experience but it was either ensemble base (were in band or choir in high school but didn’t keep up) or they have no musical experience and consider themselves non musical. No matter which group you fall in I hope this advice helps you learn how to sing to your baby!
Singing with your baby looks different depending on your baby’s age.
The first thing you need to think about when you begin interacting musically with your baby is what to expect from them. A newborn will and should react differently than an 11 month old. Here are the basic stages I noticed in my baby:
Listen (newborn) baby hears the song and looks at you as you sing.
Listen and show signs of familiarity such as smiles (3-5 months). Baby will smile or even giggle at songs you have sung before and will be attentive to new songs and rhymes.
Listen and move to the beat (5+ months). This age is really fun because baby starts getting really excited at songs they know and can even start showing the beat by tapping or bobbing as they sit.
Listen move and interact (10+ months). It is so fun to see baby start to dance during this stage. Little A has some songs he really starts moving and grooving with.
Now that you know what to expect here is how to sing to your baby:
Start with songs you know
Start with songs you know they can be songs on the radio or kids songs you remember from childhood, just make sure it is something you feel confident with singing. (I promise you won’t ruin your kid if you make a few mistakes) If you don’t feel like you know any songs start with rhymes.
Start off holding your baby while you sing or say the rhymes. Next start tapping the beat on their backs, feet, arms, knees, anywhere they like. If you aren’t sure how to find the beat walk as you sing first stepping at every new word and then leaving out steps until it feels natural to move as you chant or sing.
When baby starts being able to clap include them with rhymes like patty cake.
Once baby can really interact start singing while you play. I love the rhyme “Making some purple Stew” I say this as I stir a pot with a spoon. After a few times of doing this I give baby the spoon and say the rhyme again and he starts stirring the pot. Then whenever I see him stirring pots or bowls I say the rhyme and he starts bouncing to it. This is a great example of playing musically. You could also sing “itsy bitsy spider” and climb up a shelf or something pretending it is a water spout. Anything to turn the song or rhyme into something that baby can play with will help them stay interested.
Join my free course
For more information about singing with your baby join my email list using the form below and opt into my free email course on “How To Sing to Your Baby”. The course has more resources with songs and games to use with your babies and also some videos showing more details of what I have mentioned here. Additionally by subscribing to the course and following along you will develop the habit of musical play with your baby.
Leave a comment with your favorite song or rhyme to say with your baby.