How using music to parent can liven up everyday tasks, build family bonds

How using music to parent can liven up everyday tasks, build family bonds

Parents can sing their way through the day.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Lisa Huisman Koops researches how parents incorporate music into everything from daily chores and routines to family and religious practices. It’s something she believes has taken on more importance now that families are spending more time together in close quarters due to COVID-19. Here, Koops elaborates on the concept of parenting musically and what it involves.

1. What is parenting musically?

Parenting musically is the way I describe what happens when moms and dads use music for many nonmusical tasks and goals. These activities can involve everyday things or ways to better relate to one another. For example, a mother can sing a song to help cue her kids to brush their teeth. Or a father can use a playlist to make Saturday morning chores more fun. Children can also sing songs with grandparents through videoconferencing as a way to deepen their emotional bonds.

An example of parenting musically – helping a child brush their teeth for a certain amount of time.
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An example of parenting musically – helping a child speak about their day.
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These are just some of the ways to get children to see the richness in the ways they can experience the world through music.

2. What are the most interesting examples you’ve seen?

Several families in my research project used music to help develop their child’s identity. For instance, by singing Hungarian folk songs she had learned growing up, one mother encouraged her daughter, Francesca, to sing them over Skype with her grandparents in Hungary.

One couple curated a playlist for their daughter Maggie as a way to nurture her identity as an African American girl growing up in a transracial adoptive family with white parents.

This family intentionally introduced a broad range of musicians, including many who are African American, and talked about the importance of familiarity with music as a form of social meaning.

Other families used music for transitions and rituals. One father composed little songs for his son Joel to help him through his bedtime routine. The songs were cues for what each of them needed to do as well as a joyful way to connect.

Another family, who were observant Orthodox Jews, used music throughout their daily and weekly religious practices and holidays. For instance, the children learned songs at home and school about Purim, a Jewish holiday, that explained the background and significance of their celebrations.

3. Does parenting musically involve formal music lessons?

It depends on the family. There can be more than one reason for parents to engage their children in music through formal lessons as well as in everyday life. I’ve found that having several reasons for enrolling kids in music lessons might help keep children interested when enthusiasm flags or practicing becomes a struggle.

Music lessons involve more than just mastery.
MoMo Productions/Getty Images

Parents should communicate whatever their and their children’s hopes and dreams are to music teachers. If a teacher assumes the goal is for my daughter to be the top violinist in a youth orchestra, when my goal is for my daughter to understand and accept that it’s OK to struggle to master a difficult skill, there can be a mismatch that leads to frustration on all sides.

There’s no one right way to parent musically, and no one best way to be musical. Learning informally with online materials, taking time to explore children’s musical passions through listening to music together or rocking out to quarantine parodies – these are all ways to enjoy and grow with music.

For me personally, the goal of parenting musically is to embrace experiences with my four children today that help us navigate hurdles in life, bring us together as a family and develop skills and interests that will be with them throughout their lives.

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Lisa Huisman Koops, Professor of Music Education, Case Western Reserve University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Mother of All Gifts

The Mother of All Gifts

The Mother of All Gifts for Urban FaithFlowers, candy, and cards are nice, but for moms, the best Mother’s Day gifts of all are the people who make us mothers.

Usually, when Mother’s Day comes, we think of the women in our lives who nurture, teach, rear and comfort us. We think of blood mothers and other mothers who love us with an unselfish love that is its own brand of insanity. And a grandmother’s love is quintessential radical love. However, Mother’s Day is also a day to consider the gift of love that our children are to us.

When my son and daughter were still children and old enough to cook some basic things, they served me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day: sliced hot dogs in scrambled eggs with fresh fruit on the side. When our dog was a puppy, he tried his best to get into bed with me and share my breakfast. But mother did not play that. No doggie in my bed. On Mother’s Day morning, my bed became our breakfast table.

After breakfast we got ready for church while listening to Mother’s Day music on the radio — Bill Withers singing “Grandma’s Hands” and Dianne Reeves singing “Better Days.” The songs reminded us of mother wisdom that counsels patience. “You can’t get to better days unless you make it through the night.” My Aunt Sarah usually came to church with us, since we lived in Philadelphia and my mother lived in East St. Louis. After church we went to dinner. The day became a treasure, a precious memory gem that a mother hides in her heart.

The Bible speaks of such a moment when Jesus’ parents find him in the Temple in conversation with the teachers. He tells his parents that he is compelled to be in his Father’s house, to be about his Father’s business. The Bible tells us: “His mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

We watch our children grow and they amaze us. Through laughter and tears, through achievement and disappointment, we watch them grow as Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and humanity. Even those episodes that make us think they are creatures from another planet beamed down to Earth by some evil genius with a singular mission to pluck our last nerve become a part of the mix of events that is accumulated wealth, no matter the amount of money we have in the bank.

Our children are the reason we get up every day to work to earn a living and work for social justice and for peace. We want them to live in a more beautiful, sensible, and happy world. We work to demonstrate the praise of the glory of God, because it is through what they see us do that they will know their own moral responsibility to Creation.

God shows his love to us in a multitude of ways. God’s presence in our lives is present in uncomplicated gestures, simple and pure. God’s love loves us through our children. It is a blessing for which I am truly grateful.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Related Article: Calling All Moms.

The Art of Mindful Parenting

The Art of Mindful Parenting

Video Courtesy of Successful Black Parenting magazine

RELATED: 14 Two-Minute Parenting Podcast Shorts


Bringing mindfulness to the challenges of children can help parents to better enjoy the precious early years

Parents can struggle to enjoy the present. Children fill parental minds with lists of things to do and challenges to overcome. Many mums and dads struggle to enjoy the moment they are in, even as they know this stage won’t last forever.

Mindful parenting brings the concept of mindfulness to our experience as parents.

When we practice mindfulness, we tune our thoughts into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than living in the past or imagining the future.  This simple-sounding approach has been shown to have many benefits. Psychological research suggesting it can relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

How to be a mindful parent

Imagine you are juggling the children’s homework with cooking the dinner.  You are longing for that time of the evening where you can sit on the couch for a few hours before you go to sleep, and it all starts again.

If you can practice mindfulness and be in the “here and now”, rather than trying to multitask or get through your immense to-do list, you may find that you can enjoy even these routine daily tasks.

You might choose to sit down with your child while they’re doing homework and look at this as time for you to connect with them and give them your attention. You might also enjoy a cup of tea while being fully present with your child, taking the time to be there for them and for yourself.  Following this, you can turn your attention fully to the task of cooking. But rather than rushing the process and being on auto-pilot, you may be better able to enjoy this task too: the smells, the creativity, and the enjoyment of making a nutritious meal for your family.

When my little ones used to ask me to read to them before bed, I would often skip a few pages to hurry the process. I was tired and desperately wanted to get some time for myself.  Once child number four arrived, I became more aware of how fast the time goes. Now I am the one who starts story time and loves to sit with my little boy and smell his hair, feel his soft skin and touch his warm body. I now find these times to be a blessing and enjoy being in the moment. Reading no longer feels like a chore.

Practice makes perfect

Mindfulness improves with practice, and it can be challenging for those starting out. But while mindful parenting doesn’t magically make things easier, it can help us to get more enjoyment out of things we often take for granted. This in turn can give us more of that energy we so desperately need.

Republished courtesy of Psychlopaedia.org

14 Two-Minute Parenting Podcast Shorts

14 Two-Minute Parenting Podcast Shorts

There’s nothing like sage advice from an elder to keep you grounded as a new parent and inspired by your faith. Below you’ll find a compilation of two-minute parenting podcast shorts by Dr. Melvin E. Banks, founder of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). We’ve pulled them from Dr. Banks’ daily radio program called Daily Direction, which covers a variety of issues and topics. So when your little one takes a short nap, get your coffee or tea, find a spot on the couch, and enjoy!

Here are some tips for parenting young children

The birth of a child is a profound miracle

How do you prepare for a new baby’s arrival?

Has child discipline gone out of style?

Children’s ministries have worthy missions

How can we transmit our values to the next generation?

A baby shares the nature of its parents

How can parents discourage violence in children?

Some parents let their children learn from failure

The terrible-two age frustrates many parents

Parents still love their children after discipline is over

Are you an adopted child?

Marian Wright Edelman imitated her parents’ values

Here are habits some say you can blame on your parents

Child abuse and child neglect are serious issues

14 Two-Minute Parenting Podcast Shorts

14 Two-Minute Parenting Podcast Shorts

Parenting Podcasts

There’s nothing like sage advice from an elder to keep you grounded as a new parent and inspired by your faith. Below you’ll find a compilation of two-minute parenting podcast shorts by Dr. Melvin E. Banks, founder of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). We’ve pulled them from Dr. Banks’ daily radio program called Daily Direction, which covers a variety of issues and topics. So when your little one takes a short nap, get your coffee or tea, find a spot on the couch, and enjoy!

Here are some tips for parenting young children

The birth of a child is a profound miracle

How do you prepare for a new baby’s arrival?

Has child discipline gone out of style?

Children’s ministries have worthy missions

How can we transmit our values to the next generation?

A baby shares the nature of its parents

How can parents discourage violence in children?

Some parents let their children learn from failure

The terrible-two age frustrates many parents

Parents still love their children after discipline is over

Are you an adopted child?

Marian Wright Edelman imitated her parents’ values

Here are habits some say you can blame on your parents

Child abuse and child neglect are serious issues