The year was 19hmhr. I was a toddler in a cart singing songs with my grandma as we were grocery shopping. Not just singing softly and gently to each other.
Singing so the whole store could hear us whether they wanted to or not. That, in a nutshell, was my childhood.
Fast forward to today and I don't see that anymore.
What has happened to us?
When did we get so uptight that singing in our cars is considered absurd? Or something only kids do? It seems the only place most people feel "safe" enough to sing is in the shower and even then, someone with roommates might be hesitant to share their song.
Think about movies. Just 50-60 years ago, the majority of movies were musicals. Now, animated kids' movies are often the only ones with featured songs throughout the film—and even that is slowly dwindling.
Neither my grandma nor my mother had any qualms about singing with my brother and me. When the urge struck, we sang! It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing. We Sang!
Maybe we're the exception, but I think that needs to change. There is a lot to be said about the bond between families who sing together and the developmental benefits to children of parents and grandparents who sing to and with them.
The importance of singing to your children is something that I feel can't be stressed enough to parents with newborns and young children.
It's widely known that music is a fabulous teaching tool. Singing with your children builds:
A perfect example of this is my cousin's now 5 year old. Every day since the day she was born my cousin has sung to her daughter. The result: She was able to sing "You are my Sunshine" when she was 14 months old and her vocabulary & clarity of speech at 2 was better than some 4 and 5 year olds I know.
It dIt doesn't matter how "good" you think your voice is or isn't. No, really. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if your pitch is spot on or if your voice cracks or if you warble a little—or even a lot. The melodic tones of your singing voice are enough. So please, sing with your child!
Sing with your neighbor's child.
Sing with the child in the cart in front of you in the checkout line.
They will all benefit from it!
Not sure what songs to sing? Start here with some nursery rhymes.
Need a little vocal help? Here's a list of YouTube channels to help you get started:
Big Block Singsong - this one is my personal favorite
The Learning Station
Super Simple Songs for Kids
The Kiboomer - Kids Music Channel
I, like most people, thrive on routine. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all are more productive, healthy, and happy (in general) when we follow a regular routine.
I've recently discovered that I'm one of those weirdos who loves having a routine while simultaneously feeling stifled by it. Especially if it's very detailed. But before we get into that, allow me to flashback for a moment.
When I taught in public schools, I was on top of things. Productive, efficient, effective, energetic. All things administrators and parents want in a music teacher.
That was me. At least while I was at school.
Here's a quick breakdown of my day:
In the morning, I had enough time to get ready and that's about it, so I'd get up, shower, and get dressed. While my coffee was brewing, I'd put together my breakfast & lunch. I'd have my coffee in the car and I was ready for the day.
At school, I'd have breakfast (oatmeal while on hall duty w/orchestra teacher), prep for classes for the day. Then I'd teach, prep/plan, teach, lunch, teach, meetings, and after school ensembles.
When I got home, things...well they fell apart. I didn't belong to a gym or have anything regularly scheduled, so my health and fitness were lacking. I lived alone so my cleaning habits were lacking (I'd sporadically deep clean everything then do nothing for a month...not the best of times.) I was in a miserable relationship, so my mental health was lacking. And I didn't have an instrument in my apartment, so my practice was lacking.
At school I seemed to have it all together. At home, I was lost.
Why couldn't I keep my life together?
Because at school, my schedule was set for me. I had no choice but to teach classes at their appointed times, eat lunch at 1pm, go to the bathroom on my break even when my bladder was ready to burst 90 minutes ago (I feel you teachers!).
It was easy to keep the routine because the schedule was already determined for me. When I got home, I was able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted...or not.
I was a young adult and up until that point the schedule I followed my ENTIRE life was one that someone else had set for me.
Think about that for a moment, especially if you have children.
How much of their time is scheduled FOR them as opposed to being scheduled BY them? How much responsibility to they have over the use of their time? How much choice do they have over the use of their time?
I did not feel prepared for adult life. At least not for the time I wasn't working.
Fast forward 10+ years and my daily schedule is totally different.
I have the entire morning to do whatever I need/want. I technically don't have to be at work until 1pm. Most days (like today) I'm working several hours before that, but I don't have an actual routine.
So who needs a routine? Well, I certainly do!
Over the next several months I will be trying different morning routines to find what helps me be most productive while not making me feel over-worked or overwhelmed.
Okay, confession: I started this experiment earlier this month and I think I've found a general outline that works for me, but I'm still going to try out other routines.
I'm excited to see how this changes my productivity, my mental health, my physical health and my overall outlook on life and work.
I'd love to hear about your routines. Morning, work, evening, workout, meal planning....whatever you've got, let me hear about it.
Drop me a note and let me know!