Music, development, and little ones

I am not sponsored by Music Together or any other music program.  I am simply a parent and a SLP who appreciates music.

I have long been a student of music.  I have memories of my dad playing guitar to my brother and I when we were preschoolers.  As a child, I walked around with a microphone at all times.  Through my school-age years, I participated in many choirs and took as many singing lessons as I could.  In college and after college I had the pleasure of singing with an amazing Gospel choir.

Becoming a SLP, I have the amazing opportunity witness the positive impact music has on development.  Music has a predictable rate, rhythm, and tone.  It makes it an excellent tool for not only young children or for those learning to play instruments, but for those who have experienced a traumatic event (i.e., stroke, traumatic brain injury.

The tune “Happy Birthday” helped a client who just suffered a stroke begin to communicate requests again.  I have preschool students who learned behavior expectations and routines through songs I made up on the fly….my Cameron colleagues will no doubt remember my “We Are Walking” song to the tune of Frère Jacques.

IMG_3841When I was pregnant with my son, I was singing as a proud member of my church’s Gospel choir.  I remember feeling him move and groove with the beat.  When my son was born, music was a source of calm for him (and me HA!).  I started looking for organized music classes early on.  I found Music Together !!  Backed by research and a glowing endorsement from a friend who is a music teacher, I enrolled my son when he was 4 months old.

No…he could not fully participate, but I knew the exposure to music and the observation of the social interactions were fabulous for him.  We continue to attend Music Together classes and I share my love for this program with whoever will listen.  I have watched my son go from a 4 month old lap baby staring at the activity to a 16 month old who eagerly engages in the activities, claps and dances to all music, and interacts with peers.  In our last Music Together class, we would joke that my son was the class greeter.  He would grab an instrument and walk up to the other children to say “hi” or to play the instrument.

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My child is not unique in the way music has impacted him.  Music plays a significant role in child development.

Researchers from the University of Washington (UW) suggest that exposure to music positively impacts speech/language processing.  

Researchers from UW examined the effects of music and speech processing on 9-month-old infants.  47 infants participated in the research and we randomly assigned to the intervention group and the control group.  Infants in the intervention group were exposed to music (triple meter) to the tune of familiar children’s songs.  While exposed to this music, in a group setting, the caregivers of the infants tapped out the beat either by hand or with an instrument (e.g., shaker).  The control group infants were grouped together and participated in social interactions, but with no music.  The study lasted for 4 weeks.  During the 4 weeks, participants attended 12, 15 minute sessions.

When the intervention sessions were complete, the participants’ brain processing was tested in music and in speech.  It was found that music intervention the brain’s temporal structure for processing not only music, but for speech, too.  The researchers hypothesize that the intervention also supported the infants in their ability to extract temporal structure information and prediction.

 

For the complete research article: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/19/5212.full#abstract-2

 

 

Tuesday Tip

This Tuesday Tip is fantastic because it is so easy to implement today!

Tip: When decorating a child’s room or play space, be sure to put books, toys, blankets, and pictures (that are intended to be used by your child) AT YOUR CHILD’S LEVEL.

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I bought this cute canvas picture of the alphabet for my little guy’s play area.  I mounted it to the wall at eye level for my toddler.  He interacts with it daily, points at the letters, and it naturally facilitates conversation about the alphabet….hello early literacy!

What have you done to your child’s room or play space to make it more child friendly?!

Love for all moms

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While my little man took a nap last week, I was browsing through Facebook…taking a break from unpacking boxes from our recent move.  One of my amazing, strong mom friends posted this article from madison.citymomsblog.com.  The title of the article read “Can I Be Honest? Sometimes, I Get Jealous” and it started off with “Dear Stay-At-Home Mom”.  I was curious so I started reading…

Now, I’m a Mom who works part time and a Mom who stay at home part time.  I put the Mom part first because during these short 15 months of actually having “Mom” as my title, I have realized that I am MOM at all times!  Not only am I Mom when I am home and we are reading books or playing at the park, but I am Mom during my therapy sessions, most involved assessments and reports, and during my toughest meetings.  I am also Mom anyway of the week, anytime of the day.

I went back to work, to a career I love, when my little man was 4 months old.  I was so blessed to have the 4 months I had with him, but longed for more time at home with him.  On the flip side, when I was on maternity leave, there was a little part of me that was concerned that I was letting my career I had worked so hard for slip.  While I was going through this internal struggle (and it is ongoing…I hear it just keeps going on and on and on 🙂 ), I was also receiving tons of “advice” from random people about how to parent my child!

It is one thing to get advice from family and friends…people who love you and love your child and want the best for you both.  It is completely another thing to get “advice” from a random lady in Target when you are on a rare outing with your colicky 3 month old who is having a meltdown and you are trying all your techniques to soothe your baby and her advice is “have you tried feeding him…maybe you aren’t holding him right…try this” hmmmm hands off the baby.  Or a lady at the mall who sees your little man sleeping soundly in his baby carrier and proceeds to come up and tell you how he needs to be home and sleeping.  It goes on and on and thankfully I have honestly forgotten most of the “advice” because at the time it was just too overwhelming and had me second guessing everything.  I kept thinking that these people must have good intentions, but this isn’t advice at all…this is judgment!

I am being judged for my baby crying too much, crying too loud, being too skinny, being too chunky, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough, and it goes on and on.  Then when I went back to work, that opened up a new flood gate, “How could you ever leave your adorable baby?”  “Aren’t you sad you are going to miss milestones?”…

So when I read this article, I thought it was going to be an empowering article for Moms who stay at home, which I was eager to read because Moms who stay at home deserve tons of praise and support….but ALL moms need praise and support!  Then I got to the second part of the article, where the author addressed Moms who work.  The article is written as a letter to Stay a home moms from Working moms and then to Working moms from Stay at home moms.

Both “moms” say…

I guess I just wanted to let you know that I see you, and I recognize the sacrifices you’re making for your family.

I see you, and I support you. Keep it up, girl!

YES!!!!!  Let’s SUPPORT each other!  Let’s EMPOWER each other!  Let’s help each other along in this crazy and wonderful world of motherhood!

Thank you, Kim from madison.citymomsblog.com for posting this article.

All MAMAS OUT THERE….I SEE YOU!  YOU ARE AMAZING!  I SUPPORT YOU!  GO YOU!

Do yourself a favor and read the whole article:

http://madison.citymomsblog.com/can-honest-sometimes-get-jealous/#lightbox/0/