Tappin’ Those Tiny Toes
Presented by: Maryann “Mar.” Harman with Music with Mar
This workshop focuses on the special needs of our youngest children. Most of the music out there is too long or wordy for children ages birth through three. Songs for this age should be short enough and simple enough to keep the attention of the infant/toddler. They are also best if they invite interaction with an adult. One-on-one activities are best for this age group.
Engaging a child in face-to-face activities, helps to produce dopamine which in turn strengthens the development of the frontal lobe. A strong frontal lobe helps in impulse control. Babies watch the faces of their caregivers and listen to the tone of voice. Each time you rock a baby, feed a baby or look at and sing to a baby, that child receives the message, “You are loved!” The more that message is received, the more that child’s self-esteem is strengthened.
Songs also engage both sides of the brain. The songs used with very young children should be simple melodies as well as simple lyrics. This makes it easier to remember. Clap babies hands together and say words. As you clap, they feel the rhythm of the language. Babies most likely cannot hear the syncopated sounds, so clap each sound in a straight rhythm. Rocking a baby and dancing helps to internalize rhythm enabling the body to align together the inner workings of the various systems which are developing (ie, vestibular, proprioceptors). This alignment produces a child, who at 24 months, can walk, talk and have motor skills.
The ability to function well is directly linked to self-esteem. A child who is delayed in these beginning steps, will have future educational problems. It is important to make these first steps enjoyable, functional and productive.
Developmentally Appropriate Activities are key in a toddler program. What’s most important is bonding and one-on-one interaction. Smile, talk, sing, dance! It’s fun and it really does a Infant/Toddler worlds of good!