Experiencing emotions and processing them in healthy ways is foundational to mental, emotional, and physical health. Through music, we can experience our entire range of emotions, and music allows us to interact with those emotions in a positive way. Music can help you feel more content and happy, and can even trigger the body to release chemicals that can distract the body from pain. Study after study has shown that music can help with trauma rehabilitation, memory, and general physical well being.
So what does that mean for your child?
Music can be a tool. A tool to help you and your child process and experience emotions of all kinds in healthy ways. No single thing is going to make every emotion easy. But there are ways music can be woven into your everyday life to help.
You can listen to music, dance to some music, or make music together during times of physical or emotional distress.
Whether your child is sick, dealing with separation anxiety, teething, moving into a new house, or everyday “toddler disappointment,” music can help ease those difficulties.
Sometimes little people can get angry. Really, really angry. So sing an angry song. Sing it loud. Make up lyrics and just sing about it.
Or maybe you have a little one that misses a parent. So sing. Sing about things you are happy about. Sing about how much you miss someone. Sing about when they will come back!
There are hundreds of ways you can use this idea. Just be bold. Be silly. Feel big things and sing big songs. Sing about loading the diaper bag. Sing about potty training. Sing about driving to Grandma’s house. Sing about stubbing your toe. Sing about cleaning up messes, taking a walk, and going to sleep. Just sing about it. The big stuff and the little stuff.
The more you use music in these ways, the more you help your child learn to self-regulate and self-soothe.
Children can learn to use music to help regulate their emotions and express even really big emotions in healthy ways. A little one might sing them self to sleep. You might hear your child singing when a thunderstorm scares them in the middle of the night. Or maybe an “angry song” is how they process their frustration while they are in time-out. When they are happy they might make up songs about their excitement. And when they are sad, they can voice their disappointment through song.
All of these things can help create a fabric of musical approaches to help your child grow. They can learn expression, self control, emotional regulation, and non-physical expression for negative emotions.
No matter what you are feeling, there is a song for that. Either from someone else, or you can make it up yourself.
Pick a tune you already know and make up new words. Make up a brand new song. Sing a favorite song that you have known your whole life. No matter what you choose, no matter what you feel. Why don’t you sing about it!
Click below for Mister Rogers singing
"What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel"
Because we all need a little more Mister Rogers in our lives.