Sometimes I have a really bad idea. Like when I think that my child can travel a long distance on a balance bike. Or when I think that I can get on the tube in rush hour with a child, a child’s bike and a baby. It seems that “overreaching” is often my downfall. Ever the optimist.
But sometimes, less often, I have a really good idea. My good ideas tend to come in musical form. I think of a song, usually to help in a difficult situation, and it sticks. And rather than keep these songs to myself, I thought I’d share them with you in case they can be of any use in your family. And perhaps you’d like to share with us any songs or other useful brainwaves of your own?
My most recent composition (she chuckles), is a teeth-brushing song. A song for when one is brushing one’s teeth. Or rather, for when your toddler is reluctantly brushing his/hers. While I’m helping/encouraging my 3 year old to brush his teeth, I sing this song, to the tune of “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair” from South Pacific:
“I’m gonna brush that [weetabix] out of your teeth,
I’m gonna brush those [shreddies] out of your teeth,
I’m gonna brush that [yogurt] out of your teeth,
And send it on its way.”
You just insert whatever they’ve eaten into the song, obvs. I’ve also discovered that as a bonus, this actually helps them with sequencing! If we do the food in order (or reverse order), apparently that helps them with maths. Whoop! My son loves this, and it certainly distracts him from the fact that he doesn’t want to brush his teeth.
An old favourite of mine was partly thanks to Rachel Jankovic, who I think in her book “Loving the Little Years” writes about having little ropes or ribbons attached to her pushchair for her older children to hold onto while they walked around the shops. She called them “stations”, but we’re not as fun as that. Anyway, I tied a red plaited rope to my Maclaren and encouraged my then-2-year-old daughter to hold it while we walked along, to keep her close. She wasn’t always keen, so I came up with this song to the tune of “Frere Jacques“:
“Red rope, Red Rope,
Hold on tight, hold on tight,
Keeping up with mummy,
Keeping up with mummy,
Good girl, good girl.”
This worked a treat, as again it made her forget that she didn’t actually want to be obedient. We still sing it sometimes, and the children fight over the red rope nowadays (sigh).
This one is a bit gross I suppose, so if you don’t have kids yet, stop reading now! But when I was potty training my eldest and she was too small to sit on a normal sized toilet, but we were out somewhere and she had to use a normal sized toilet, I would hold her over the loo and sing this, to the tune of “London’s Burning”
“Mummy’s got you, Mummy’s got you,
Do a wee wee, do a wee wee,
Well done! Well done!
Wipe your bottom, flush the toilet!”
Again, it got me out of some sticky situations if she was scared she’d fall in but clearly needed to go. I would say, “come on, you’ll be fine. I’ll sing the song!” So dignified.
Another song which I’ve found really useful is the “Oh and Don’t forget” song from Show Me, Show Me on CBeebies. It’s a great one to use on long car journeys. I can’t find a link to the tune, but if you know it, you can make up verses like this:
“Steering, steering, hands upon the wheel,
Steering, steering, oh and don’t forget:
Windows, windows, wind them up and down,
Windows windows, wind them up and down (back to steering)
Wipers, wipers, swish away the rain,
Wipers, wipers, swish away the rain (back to windows, then steering, then another verse)”
Sorry if I’ve lost you on that one!
Another one I’ve stolen but definitely can’t take credit for is “I wanna hold your hand” by the Beatles, which sometimes helps my children to hold my hand when they really would rather just run in the opposite direction or into traffic. (They do like to run towards traffic.)
We have other songs, but they’re more family specific, like the song about our door number (in case the kids ever need it!), and songs about our children. I’ve mentioned before that Mike made up a song about dirty nappies to the tune of the South African National Anthem, but I’m not sure we know each other well enough for me to share that here. But I would definitely recommend singing to alleviate boredom (such as when pushing your child on a swiiiing), or to cheer everyone up when things are hard (like when you’re not allowed to run into the busy road even though you really want to). And when everyone’s in a really bad mood, you’ve got to whip out a Seeds Family Worship number or other memory verse song to give yourself some perspective, am I right?
So how about you?