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10 Tips: Doing your own baby music class at home with your new baby

Babies enjoy music from birth. At Baby Love Music Fun we recommend starting our program from 3 months.

This is because from about this time you are more likely to think about getting out of the house for some social interaction and a baby music class is the perfect outing.

If you're not ready for a weekly class yet? No problem, you can do simple music activities everyday.

Right from the start you can begin using music in an active way to stimulate your babies development. These tips are to get you started using a musical play routine at home with your new baby.

Why sing and do active play?

Babies who are sung too, held, touched form stronger brain neural connections and the period of 0-3 years is show as a period of intense brain wiring. In fact their ears are fully developed on birth.

You can begin your bonding right from the start with an at home music session, it's simple.

1. Choose the right time to play

With little babies - timing is very important. Go with the recommended routine of sleep, feed, play.

When your baby is alert after a sleep and feed is the perfect time to try some active play. The window of time for little babies is small. Don't push it. They may only be interested in 1 or 2 songs to begin with. With regular interaction work up to about 20 minutes of what we call quality interactive play and then 10 minutes of calming rocking, massage or stretching and singing to settle.

2. Make a 30 playlist for 20 minutes active play and 10 minutes calming/settling

Choose a starting music/song and finishing music/song. This will provide the musical cue everytime for your baby know playtime is starting and finishing. They love routines and will quickly learn that play time is finished when the finish song comes on.

3. What type of music is best?

Research has found that babies have a strong preference for the music they have heard while in utero for up to 12 months after being born. Anecdotal evidence strongly supports this too so think back to music that you listened to alot. Add this music to your playlist.

In our classes we use many different styles of music and genres and you will find that your baby will enjoy many styles. There is a reason why kids music exists though - they LOVE it! So put a few of your old favourites on there, like wheels on the bus, row, row etc

If you're wanting to put some classical music on your playlist choose Mozart or Vivaldi as research has found the tempo of these composers to be stimulating for babies.

4. Music to get them babbling

Many pop songs have repetitive choruses that use baby babble. Eg, Beatles Hey jude...nah, nah, nah, Police - do do do, dah dah dah...get the idea, I'm sure you can think of heaps more we use lots of different ones in our baby music classes to get everyone singing along.

Choose a song like this and when the chorus comes in sing for your baby, over-emphasize the forming of the sounds. Objective is to have your baby copy and make these babbling sounds. Babbling begins on average at around 4 months.

5. Teach them how to dance to music.

Lie your baby on their back and stand above them so they can see you. Put on a song you like to dance to and dance for them. Your objective is to see if you can get them to respond, copy your movements to the beat and dance with you. Commonly they will kick their legs in time and raise up their hands. You might also get squeals of delight.

6. Sing while you work

Sing about what you are doing. This one is easy and works well with kids songs. Eg, "This is the way we change your nappy" while you change the nappy.

7. Singing is good for your mental health After you have a sing and dance your mood will be improved! It's true. Research shows those happy hormones are released when you sing. You'll be ready to make it through anything! No challenge will be too daunting and the best thing about your happiness is it's contagious and your baby will also feel more settled and pick on on your positive vibe.

8. Rhythmic Rocking

This is our hot tip for the end of your little active play time together. It's a milestone in social behaviour for babies around 3-5 months to cry or voice displeasure when you stop playing with them...probably because they love all the attention. Musical cues such as playing the same lullaby at the end of your play session will teach your baby very quickly that play is over and sleep time is coming. Pick up your baby and repetitively rock in time to your lullaby. Rhythmic rocking is very settling to babies, the key is to get a rocking rhythm going and don't change it, the music will help you stay with the beat. The idea is to settle the baby (not necessarily rock to sleep) and then put baby in cot to self settle to sleep. Research shows that a baby who has been stimulated in an active play session like this will retain all of the learnings and brain development more if they sleep straight after and activity so plan your music play session for just before sleep time.

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