Using Top 40 hits to help a preemie learn

I sing all the time, whether it is puttering around at home, hymns at church, or belting out songs on the radio. When the boys were still young and had not yet said a word, despite the fact that their peers were practically speaking in full sentences, I sang show tunes and Laurie Berkner and we danced until we dropped. At night I still sing them to sleep with the Beatles.

Somewhere along the way they started singing. I hear Oliver warbling his thin descant from the bathtub as strains of The Killers and Owl City waft down the hallway. In the car if there is a catchy tune on the radio I am asked to turn the volume up and then to politely quiet myself so my boys can sing by themselves.

Music is important developmentally. When you sing with your kids, you engage with them. Learning a beat is learning math and most songs offer a great opportunity to practice rhyming. What’s more, music also helps the brain develop important connections. Learning an instrument (which is our next goal) has been shown in studies to improve fine motor skills and auditory discrimination and several studies also show that older children who have been playing an instrument for a couple of years are better at math than their peers.

Then there is the obvious. Listening to Katie Perry’s “Hot and Cold” last year Victor announced “that’s opposites.” And so it is.

Oh, and one more thing. Singing is fun. For Christmas I bought the boys a $30 Karaoke machine and some top 40 songs. When they are bored and start whining for the TV I can almost always win them over with Karaoke. They also get to practice taking turns.

And me? Well, I’m singing right along with them. When they let me, that is.

April 17, 2010

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