Updated: Aug 30, 2021
Can you remember either of your parents singing nursery rhymes to you when you were a child? Have you ever thought about the benefits of singing with your children?
There are so many ways in which you can introduce children to singing. Whether it's on a long car journey, getting your child to relax before bedtime or even during a swimming lesson. Singing also has the added bonus of having many health and developmental benefits too. So lets get singing!
Singing makes you happy
By singing out loud you release feel-good hormones called endorphins which are responsible for making you feel good and boost your energy. You also release even more feel-good hormones via a small part of your inner ear, called the Sacculus when you hear music - so even more of a reason to have your favourite song belting out as you go about your day.
Singing builds up your immune system
Science has proven that singing increases cytokines which act like messengers to the immune system. They travel around the body helping your immune cells communicate with each other thus boosting your immune system.
Singing can be classed as an aerobic activity
Singing forces you to breath deeply which in turn means you are drawing more oxygen into your body. This then travels around in your bloodstream and further oxygenates your brain. Also by taking deeper breather it can help to calm and relax your body keeping you in the present moment and more in tune with your body.
Singing builds communication skills
Singing to your baby helps prepare them and get them used to the structure, patterns and inflections of their native language. For toddlers, it strengthens their lips and tongue so they can speak clearly as well as expand their vocabulary (especially songs which have actions with them) and teach them about creative language and rhyme. Singing with actions is a great way to support their gross and fine motor skills.
Singing can also encourage children to express their emotions and sharpen their ability to communicate their feelings when needed. Thus building on their emotional intelligence. This will help in later life to become more resilient.
Singing improves brain development
Learning the tune and lyrics to a song is a great way to build your child's memory muscle. It also means that you need to practice your listening skills and concertation in order to accurately keep in tune, sing the lyrics correctly and keep to the right rhythm. A lot of multiple tasks to perform hence why the brain development improves.
Singing with a group
Singing as a part of a group brings a sense of belonging and a positive sense of social inclusion. It can also enhance our relationships with those around us.
Babies start developing the ability to process sound at about 25 weeks. Dutch and Hungarian researchers have proven that just day-old infants can identify rhythmic patterns. So, we are born with the ability to appreciate singing!
How do I add singing to our swim sessions?
I have a welcome song that we sing at the very start of each swim session. It also gives those that have arrived a little later time to get in the pool as they are able to sing it whilst they are still getting ready:
After exploring for about 5 mins we then come back as a group and sing an action song relative to the theme of the week.
Below is a song from the Spring/Bug theme:
Next the focal point is the kicking action. At this skill set if we notice that the babies or younger toddlers aren't executing the kicking motion enough we use songs to help:
"This is the way we kick our feet, kick our feet, kick our feet. This is the way we kick our feet ready for swimming".
At the same time as singing the adult is performing the proper kicking action for them so the words are associated with the action.
Next is breathing control - practicing breath holding and breathing in and blowing out. There are a number of ways to incorporate songs for this skill and as a learning tool. For example: you can use singing numbers when blowing out - " 1 bubble (blow), 2 bubble (blow)" and so on OR for our theme this week, we used a watering can and sang the song below:
When we said "soil" we splashed the water, the sun we signed and then water we sprinkled water over the head (using cue if needed) using the watering cans or clouds.
I have also used "It's raining it pouring" whilst the group moves in a circular motion - kicking and taking a breath or blowing bubbles through under a trickle of water I am holding above them.
Please note: If a child communicates to me that they do not want to go under then we have them catch the water with their hands until ready to go under.
Next up we aim to go on our backs - No child is forced to go on their backs unless they want to and are comfortable.
Songs help tremendously with a skill that a child is a little anxious or unfamiliar with. Especially for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
I have used songs in our Space theme "Zoom, zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon, 5,4,3,2,1, Blast off" and they kick their feet really hard to move backwards. Or "Twinkle, Twinkle little star" using sign language.
Next we do independent swims for ages 2+ years old with their Orca swim trainers on and often sing "this is the way we paddle, paddle" for arm movement and "this is the way we blow our bubbles" and "this is the way we kick our feet" to entice practicing the various skill sets.
With the younger children the same songs can be used in the Anchor Hold whilst encouraging their independent swims.
Our last group song is a goodbye song which is still themed.
This week we had the butterfly song:
This is a great way to get the children prepared to end their session.
Flutter around - move round in a circle
Touch the ground - go under water with cue (if want to)
Fly so free - jiggle or any movement
Land on me - jump
Reach the sky - throw or put above head
Say good bye - wave
I give announcements if needed now then:
We sing this song right at the end of the swim session. We also sign each of the animals.
The children (and adults) really enjoy their swim sessions with the songs incorporated. You can see why it's really useful to learn as many as you can to enhance your time in the water with the children.
If you would like to purchase our NEW learn to swim aid - The Orca swim trainer get your very own here.