All about children!

Posts tagged ‘self-esteem’

Music benefits…

 …Social-emotional skills!

Many parents do not think about their children’s social and emotional skills and how they can help strenghten and develop those. In future posts I will talk about these skills and what can parents do to help their children in that area. However, today we talk about how Music benefits social-emotional skills!

1. Music helps improve self-esteem. Songs are meant to be sung many, many, many (did I mention many?) times. Repetition helps the child to predict what’s going to happen and this helps with self-esteem. Anxiety is decreased because they know what comes next. Think about it, they don’t know much about the world so they become anxious about everything it’s happening because everything is new! Singing songs they like helps improve their self-confidence. Plus, when we sing, we probably move and dance and as a parent/caregiver you will celebrate their movement and how wonderful their dancing is by clapping and smiling…that helps with their confidence as well!

2. Music helps with curiosity. When children explore with one or a variety of instruments, this helps them satisfy their curiosity. How does this work? What kind of noise does it make? Does it bounce, wiggle or shake?

3. Music helps make friends. When they sing, dance or play instruments they interact with other children. Music is mostly a social activity! Kids love to dance and sing with their friends and show-off their skills. Singing and dancing together helps children bond with their friends, because now they do things that they enjoy together, isn’t that how we choose our friends? I certainly do!

4. Music helps with self-control. When they share instruments, share the dancing space or sing a song together, they are developing self-control. They practice self-control when sharin, taking turns, planning their actions, paying attention and moving at the rhythm of the music.

5. Music helps to relate with other people. Nobody can be grumpy when singing or dancing! Music helps us to be kind and respectful because we are singing together and making music together; it’s a group experience! Also, music helps expressing their feelings. You can sing when you are happy, sad or to celebrate other people’s birthdays and accomplishments! Children learn how to relate with other people through music and in this cooperation they learn to resolve problems with others.

Here I shared just a few of the benefits. Can you think of other examples of how music helps with social-emotional skills? Share with us!

 

photo: iStock

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11 ways to REALLY listen to your child

 A few days ago I read this (I can’t remember where!) “We were given two ears but only one mouth, because listening is twice as hard and important as talking”. Well, it’s true! And then I thought about children and kids have lot to say… a lot! Sometimes adults don’t think that children have anything important to say or that they can’t learn from children. So often times they do all the talking, they lecture, preach or, worst of all, ignore them!

Listening to your children will help them grow up to be adults with increased self-esteem because you will make them feel like what they have to say is important. However, children are not always sure how to communicate their feelings, so they might be saying or acting out completely different from how they actually feel. Active listening can help you, help them figure it out. So here are some tips to REALLY listen to your child when they have something important (or not) to say:

1.    Stop what you are doing– Don’t be distracted doing something else.

2.    Look at your child-Sit at his/her level.

3.    Pay attention to your child’s nonverbal language-Does the child look happy, sad, afraid?

4.    Be silent. It might be hard, but it is important that they have time to express themselves. It will also give you time to understand the situation before reacting.

5.    Use simple acknowledgement responses that show you are listening- For example, “I see”. “Oh”. “Uh-Huh”. Hmmm.”

6.    Use door-openers; phrases that encourage further talking- “Tell me more”, “Go on”, “How do you feel about that?”, “I know what you mean”, “Then what?”

7.    Listen for and name the feelings you think you hear from what your child is telling you-“That made you pretty mad, didn’t it?”, “You seem really happy about that!”

8.    Use problem-solving phrases when needed- “What do you wish you could do?”, “What do you want to happen?”, “What do you think will happen if you do that?”

9. Don’t feel that you must advise or help your child come up with a solution all the time- The value of listening is in the listening itself.

10.    Let them know you are available.

11.  Don’t try to deny, discount, or distract the child from the feelings they are expressing.

Listening helps parents and children avoid the power struggle cycle. Instead of arguing, listen. Show your understanding while maintaining your position. Listening builds stronger relationships,  shows respect and helps the child explore his/her own feelings and thoughts on a deeper level. It builds their sense of empathy.

Are you ready to listen to your child?