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Singing with kids

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, August 2021; written by Ann Marie Meiresonne.


Do you like to sing? I enjoy singing. Most kids enjoy singing. Babies can be calmed or entertained with singing softly and expressively. All cultures have song in their rich heritage. Many of us easily think of songs from early childhood and/or songs you sang to your children.


Singing is an early literacy practice that many people take for granted not understanding that singing with your babies and children is important for language development. Singing slows down language so children can hear the smaller sounds of words. There is often a different note for each syllable. Songs teach vocabulary not heard in everyday language. Songs teach concepts such as counting, size, and movement. Singing can teach stories. In addition, singing is fun.


Sing with your children and grandchildren any chance you get. Whether at home, in the car, on the boat, during a walk. Even if you do not believe you have a perfect voice, sing anyway! Look into your family history to find songs from your heritage. Check out CDs, or digital services to listen to family friendly music. Currently there are many good artists and music available for kids. Singing the simplest of songs, such as Row, Row Row your boat, will help to build early literacy skills.


Move to the music with your child. Children develop motor skills with spinning, clapping, dancing as well as rhythm. Make simple musical instruments to play along.

Sing a nursery rhyme or find a book based on a song, there are many. Pete the Cat series by James Dean, the Nut Family series by Eric Litwin , The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort, Cradle Songs of Southeast Alaska by Crystal Kaakeeyaa Worl and The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long. Sing along instead of reading with these books. Some, like cradle songs, come with a CD, some have an online resource, and then there are the books for familiar tunes, itsy bitsy spider, for example.


Singing with your children is also a great way to do chores such as cleaning up or brushing teeth. You can make up songs with familiar tunes. Play with the words to rhyme which will work for your situation. Many times singing about putting shoes on to get the kids out the door makes things go a lot smoother.


The Ketchikan Public Library has resources for you, come check them out. Librarians are here to help with materials, book suggestions and even puppets! Just added to the collection, we have book and puppet kits with a rhyme/song sheet included for check out. These kits help make singing and reading fun. Sometimes it is easier for an adult to have the puppet sing.


We also have online resources with Online Song Time, Romps and Rhymes and Flannelboard Friday, which are accessible through Facebook, Instagram or Youtube with the Ketchikan Public Library featuring the children’s library staff.


In September, children and adult staff will be taking a programming break. Our past online resources will still be accessible on social media and of course, staff is available for materials advice and check out. In October we will be back with programming, so keep tuned in to see what we are up to!


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