Early childhood

Tips for musical parenting for the Under 5s

Dr Peter de Vries is an early childhood music education expert and former MCA Councillor. Here are his tips for engaging your young child in music and making music part of your family life together.

  • Sing sing sing! From birth onwards (or even before) sing to your child. Look your child in the eye and move with them as you sing.
  • Get into musical "play" with your child. Respond to what your child initiates musically. This could be musical babbling from a newborn, part of a song for a toddler, or a whole song from an older child. Praise your child's music-making, smile and join in. If a young child picks up a wooden spoon and starts striking it on the table, don't tell them to stop, encourage them! Join in! Sing with them as they bang! This is music.
  • Encourage your child to move to music, either as you sing, or to recorded music (warning: don't have background music on all the time - young children will end up blocking this out). Again, join in and encourage them to make up their own movement sequences.
  • Expose children to musical instruments. Even infants can grab a rattle or bells and make sounds from them. Listen to what older children do when they play instruments - that way they interweave their instrument play with singing, speaking and dramatic play.