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5 Easy Tips to Make Singing for Your Child Less Boring
Like most parents, you’ve probably had at least one experience of telling your little one “maybe later” when they asked you to sing their favourite song for the thousandth time that day.
If you found yourself cringing at the thought of singing that song, yet again, below you’ll find 5 simple ways to make it more interesting for both you and your child! Because let’s face it: singing the same song over and over again can get boring pretty quickly!
So often, parents feel that they have to sing a song just the way they hear it on the radio or on YouTube. But those videos and recordings often have either vocal backups or instruments playing in the background. It’s difficult to match that when singing alone.
It’s almost like singing is something that has to be taken seriously! But in the comfort of your own home, with your child as your audience, anything goes. Your child will learn from you that having fun with songs and being silly is also an option.
Be creative with your singing! By making it fun for both of you, it helps take out some of the boring-ness that goes with singing that song for the millionth time.
You’ll find all of the tips below include some examples to get you started. So, take a look through these 5 simple ways to take the “boring” out of singing your children’s songs.
1) Change up one or two words to each song.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. You certainly don’t need to completely make up your own version, but think about specific words that you can change. Most often, this tends to be color words, action words, or even body parts or automobiles.
For example, change the black sheep to a blue sheep in “Baa, baa black sheep”.
Change up “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to “Hands, Fingers, Toes and Lips”.
Just keep it simple. The key here is to try and keep the number of syllables the same. That should help you to avoid any odd rhythms in the new variations.
Up for a challenge?
Try changing up a few words to make a new story! This type of activity shows your child that you can sing about anything! Encourage them to make up their own version.
Here’s an example about the Itsy-Bitsy Weevil sung to, of course, the Itsy-Bitsy Spider song.
With this type of activity, the point is to be fun and creative! And your child will most likely ask what a “weevil” is. This opens the conversation about all those tiny little insects, or perhaps even gardening. Your little ones will most likely laugh and think its quite a sill game to sing about such creatures.
Changing up the words is an absolute go-to for busy parents! You’ve already got the melody in your head, just change up the words a bit! And, if you need some extra inspiration, check out how you can change up a traditional children’s song with these 10 Variations of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Teachers and parents alike love the flexibility of this song!
2) Insert your child’s name whenever possible.
Children absolutely love it when you sing about them! They recognise their own names early on, usually around 5 to 6 months. This is a great way to not only get their attention when you are singing.
You are truly strengthening the bond between the two of you when you sing their name. Not only that, but it’s an excellent way to help them feel more secure with you.
Let’s say your little one loves it when you sing the song “You Are My Sunshine”. If you want to use their name, just change up the word “sunshine” to your child’s name.
It might feel or sound a bit sill at first, but children quickly pick up on the fact that you are singing their name!
Another prime time to use their name is when you are singing lullabies. There are tons of lullabies that make use of the word “baby”. That’s exactly where you would then use your own child’s name. In fact, here are 5 classic lullabies where you could easily use your child’s name!
Instead of the standard “Rock-a-bye Baby” version, I prefer a simpler version that only uses the baby’s name once – and it doesn’t include the “cradle will fall” bit. If you use your baby’s name is would go something like this:
If your child’s name is not the same number of syllables of the word you are replacing, just sing the name as your would normally pronounce it. Or, alternatively, use a nickname – those tend to be shorter anyway.
Singing their name should feel natural to you and not forced. It could very well be that you add an extra note value, but just remember: the fact that you are singing to your child is more important than getting it exactly right!
And, to be honest, if there is an extra half beat or note added, it’s not a problem! This is informal music making at it’s best! There really is no wrong way.
3) Learn Additional Verses
I’ll admit, I never really took the time to learn additional verse to those traditional nursery rhyme songs, like “Twinkle, twinkle little star” or “Mary had a Little Lamb”. But they are so easy to find that it doesn’t take long to memorise them!
And the great part is, memorising is easier when learned with a melody! Even just one or two additional verse gives you so much more potential and it doesn’t get boring as quickly as it might with a single verse.
4) Add movement to the song
Many nursery rhyme songs are quite easy to add movement to, ranging from simple finger movements to more challenging movements for toddlers. Classic children’s songs that include movement words are:
- The Itsy-Bitsy Spider
- Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- I’m a Little Teapot
- The Wheels on the Bus
- and pretty much any song your toddler likes!
Again, be creative with songs if that any movement words involved.
One of the biggest benefits of movement songs is that children learn in multiple ways, all at the same time! They’ll learn
- physically, by moving their own bodies
- visually, by watching you do the movements
- verbally, by hearing and singing the words, and
- musically, by hearing the rhythm of words and rhymes.
Without a doubt, adding movement to your musical activities is an excellent activity for children.
5) Be silly when you sing!
There is just something about being super silly with music that children love!
Be creative here, too. Anything you can imagine would be great. But here are some examples:
- Change up the tempo, or speed, of the song, a bit. Sing it super fast or super slow.
- Sing it in a high-pitched voice or really low (and bonus points for making faces while you do this!).
- Do a ‘wrong’ movement rather than the one they know. An example might be when singing “If you’re happy and you know it…” make a sad face.
- Or you could even sing the wrong word every now and then to see if your little one notices! For example: “The Itsy Bitsy Octopus…”
I encourage parents all the time to just have fun with the music. Make mistakes and change things up.
This not only takes out the boredom for you and your kids, but it teaches your little ones that you can have fun with music.
It teaches them they can also be creative and change things up – that music isn’t something that’s set in stone and has to be sung or performed a certain way.
Your kids will love that music is something they can have fun with.
So, there you have 5 easy ways to take the boredom out of singing for both you and your children!
Which one will you try out today? Make sure to share your experience in the comments below.
Happy music making,