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Jamming, toddler-style

It's not necessary for them to follow the words to a song. It makes them happy just to hear the comfort in your voice or on the recording or to dance to a peppy tune. Introduce music to your child early. Music and dance help children learn to listen, to coordinate hand and body movements and to express themselves creatively.

What you need

Music

Noisemakers (rattles, a can filled with beans or buttons, empty toilet paper rolls, pots, pans, plastic bowls)

What to do

Have your toddler try banging a wooden spoon on pots, pans or plastic bowls; shaking a large rattle or shaking a securely closed plastic container filled with beans, buttons or other noisy items; and blowing through toilet paper or paper towel rolls.

Sing or play recordings of nursery rhymes. Have your toddler participate actively. Even if he can't recite the words, he can imitate your hand movements, clap or hum along.

As your child becomes more physically coordinated, encourage her to move to the music. She can twirl, spin, jump up and down, tiptoe or sway. Find recordings of all kinds of music for your child to listen to. Help her learn to clap out rhythms, to move to both slow and fast music and to listen carefully for special sounds in the music.

Here are a few tips to get your child to sing:

  • Sing yourself. Sing fairly slowly so that your child can join in. Discourage shouting.
  • Start with simple chanting. Pick a simple melody, such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and sing, "la, la, la." Add the words later.

Make singing a natural part of your daily routine — let your child hear you sing as you work around the house or sing along with songs on the radio or TV or with your own CDs or recordings. Encourage him to join in.

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