Music and Movement for Children

Music is a wonderful tool for young families. It encourages quality time together and is a great motivator that allows your kids to have fun in a safe, nurturing environment. What are some great musical activities you can do with your kids? How can music help with chores and other activities kids may not like. Plus, how you can make music out of any noise around you.

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Music and Movement for Children

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.


[Theme Music]

Diana Davidson: Did you know that all children are musical? Have you ever wondered what you can do to nurture the musical growth of your child regardless of your own musical ability? Through music and movement classes families can enjoy a number of benefits, such as spending quality time together, learning about music, meeting other children and families, and, most importantly, having fun in a safe, nurturing, playful environment. I’m Diana Davidson, director of Songbirds Music and this is Parent Savers episode 60.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Johner Riehl: Welcome, everybody, to this week’s episode of Parent Savers, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Parent Savers is your weekly online on-the-go support group for parents of newborns, infants and toddlers. I’m your host, Johner Riehl. Thanks again to all of our loyal listeners who joined the Parent Savers Club. Our members get all of our archived episodes, bonus content after each new show, plus special giveaways and discounts. Subscribe to our monthly Parent Savers newsletter for a chance to win a membership to our club each month. Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Parent Savers App. It’s available in Android and iTunes marketplace, also on Google Play. Whenever a new podcast is released you get it automatically on your phone; and then when you are at the gym or pushing the stroller, or wherever you’re listening, you know that there’s a new episode available. You all know by now, I have three boys – six, four and almost two years old, as a matter of fact he just turned two two days ago as this episode is released. So let me go around the table and introduce some of our panelists. We have Ursula and Scott in the studio with us as well and they’re a couple of our super-parents; these are folks that contribute a lot to Parent Savers and appear regularly as panelists; maybe you guys will recognize them. So Scott, go ahead.

Scott Kilian: I’m Scott Kilian. I’m 36 years old. I’m a certified financial planner. I have one son, Alex.

Ursula McDonald: Hi. I’m Ursula. I’m 35. I am an office manager, but now I’m spending most of my time with my two boys – Desmond, who’s four, and Callan, who’s two.

Johner Riehl: And our expert Diana is in the studio as well. Diana, do you have kids?

Diana Davidson: I do. I am a momma to two girls – Hanna, who’s seven, and Bella, who is two.

Johner Riehl: Nice.

[Theme Music]

[Featured Segment: KidsMeasure Tracks Your Kid’s Growth!]

Johner Riehl: Before we dive in today’s topic, which is music and movement for children, I want to talk about a new App that we’ve checked out here at Parent Savers and I want to tell you guys about. It’s called the Kid Measure Growth Chart App and it’s available for iPads. What you can do is take a picture of your child and it will give you a measurement on screen. It uses some actually pretty tricky math to do it. I was wondering how it was going to do it. You have to do a few things to do it, but it figures out how tall they are. It’s an easy way to save a picture and then you can keep taking pictures of your kid in the same spot with whatever time period you want and you can track how they’re growing. The way it works is: you actually have to take a piece of paper and you tape it to a wall and you can decide whether it’s going to be an American letter paper or if it’s a legal paper, all these sorts of paper sizes. It’s kind of like when you’re shopping for labels and there are always different options of different papers. And then you line up your kid in the shadow that’s beneath it and then you snap the picture and you make sure that you can resize it, so it figures out what size the paper is. And then through crazy math it figures out how tall your kid is based on where you put its feet and how tall it goes.I played around with my boys and they love, of course, having their picture taken and standing up and being measured to grow. And it’s super cute and it turned out with some cute pictures. And of course, they see the pictures and you can save it as either a jpeg or a pdf. And whenever we take pictures of them they’re like, “get it on Facebook! Put it on your phone so other people can see it!” And you can easily do that with this as well. And so it was an neat thing and a way to track it. The accuracy was pretty good. Actually, after I did it, I took a tape measure out to see if it’s right. Because I think we’re all used to ticking it off in real life. And the way I did it I think it was a little bit short; I wouldn’t trust this if you had to have an accurate reading of exactly what their height is, but for a cute way to track their progress I think that it’s kind of a neat thing. Did you guys have a chance to check it out? Did you guys have an experience with it?

Scott Kilian: I wish I did. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn how to download it and it required a dinosaur. I have the first generation iPad; it was not able to get the App because it requires a higher version of IOS than was allowed on that version.

Johner Riehl: Yeah. We have an iPad 2 and an iPad mini (don’t judge) (Laughs). Or maybe you can judge if you think that’s awesome. We do have the mini, that’s actually great, but that’s a whole other topic. It would not download it on our iPad 2 either. And I think it’s because you have to have the latest version of the IOS software running. But it didn’t work on our iPad mini. And it doesn’t work on phones either. You have to really have one of the latest iPads or be up to date with the latest software in order to use it.

Ursula McDonald: I have a question. That sounds like a fascinating app – unfortunately, I only have an iPhone, I’m still waiting for my iPad, it’s on my wish list – but does it synthesize that information to a growth chart? Is there a mechanism of actually viewing the results?

Johner Riehl: Yes, there can be a chart with the results that you are then able to track. There are actually a few steps that you need to take. It’s not something that you can quickly just snap a picture and then it’s ready to go. You have to line them up, you have to get the paper up; after the picture is taken you have to make sure that the paper is the right size on the screen. Then you have to use these virtual feet to put where their feet are. And then you get a measurement. And then you need to choose to record it. And you can do multiple kids as well. And then once you’ve recorded multiple images yes, you can see results like that and see how it’s tracking. We also asked some of our bloggers if they would review the app, so here’s what they had to say.

Anna and Bess: This is Anna and Bess and we’re calling to give a review of the KidsMeasure app. We found that the app was very easy to download, but a little frustrating to use. There aren’t any words and directions, and only general pictures. It has an option to contact support, but the problem wasn’t with the app working, but that we didn’t know what to do. I thought the picture was very cute that Bess was able to take, but she didn’t find that very helpful.

Jessica: Hey, Parent Savers! This is Jessica. I had a chance to download the KidsMeasure app. I’m calling in with my review. I’m so excited about this app, because I have a couple of little ones and they’re growing like weeds and it would be really nice to be able to track their progress and even be able to share it online – I love the concept behind it. I downloaded the app, didn’t have a problem downloading it. And I got through the first couple steps, and my oldest is three and he doesn’t like to stay in place, but I got him up against the paper and went on to take the picture and I just couldn’t get it to work. Unfortunately, I spent about five or six minutes trying to figure out how to even snap the photo. I don’t know if it was my app in particular, but it just didn’t work for me. I just couldn’t get past that stage, so unfortunately I really couldn’t test the app. I think it’s a fun way for kids to be able to track their success and their growth, but from the parent’s point of view I just couldn’t get it to work. So, unfortunately the app just didn’t work for me and I probably wouldn’t share it with another parent because, again, I just didn’t get to have that user experience.

Johner Riehl: So overall here at Parent Savers I’d say we give it a cautious thumbs up. You have to make sure you have the right kind of software to download it. There are a lot of steps you have to go through to do it. And it’s not completely user friendly, but it’s something that can be figured out. It’s definitely not something kids can use on their own, parents have to be there. And you might get a little frustrated the first time through. But what it does is really neat and the growth chart it provides and the tracking is really good. So cautious thumbs up for KidsMeasure Growth Chart app.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: Alright. Now we are ready to dive into today’s topic, which is an exciting one for all of us here in the studio. It’s music and movement for children. And I can tell you, all three of my kids love music and dancing and I’m sure that’s the case for many of you guys listening as well. Today we’re talking with Diana Davidson, founder and director of Songbirds Music. She’s going to tell us all about the importance of music and movement for kids and why it’s never too early to start incorporating music into your kids’ lives. Thanks for joining us, Diana.

Diana Davidson: Thank you for having me.

Johner Riehl: Let’s dive into the topic. So why is music so important for kids’ lives?

Diana Davidson: Well music is important for kids because it’s important at any age. It’s accessible when they’re newborns up to age 99, 150, whatever your age; it’s accessible to everybody. It is a form of expression and communication. It’s a way to connect and interact with family, with their community, with their culture, and with each other. And music making is a multisensory activity, so it stimulates many parts of the body and the brain. If children are singing they are stimulating their voice and their vocal range and their vocal expression, which later on helps them in school with reading and talking. And if they are dancing like we do in our music classes they’re involving all of their muscle groups in their bodies. And when they’re playing instruments they’re involving those fine motor skills and when they’re tapping their feet and swinging their arm they’re involving their gross motor skills. So that’s why it’s important. And lastly, listening to music and playing music and making music is fun. And having fun is important.

Johner Riehl: And so what do we mean by music? (Bum-bum-bum) Is that music? I just knocked on the table by the way. That was kind of some sweet base. (Laughs) But is that music? Is anything music? Is there a definition for what music is or what it entails?

Diana Davidson: Well music means different things to different people. And I actually looked up in various dictionaries and sources what the definition of music is, and in all of the sources none of them listed just one definition; there were multiple definitions. So I thought that was interesting. Webster defines it as “the art of arranging sounds or tones in an orderly sequence so to produce a united continued composition.” And while I don’t believe that all noise is music, my little one chasing my daughter and her friend around the house with an occasional squeal or scream – noise, not music. However I find myself, when I’m in the car and I have my turn signal on, that I will clap to the beat or bub my head to the beat or start doing a little song ditty to the music of my blinker in my car. When I’m walking with people, if I notice there’s a certain cadence to their walk, I will alter the way that I walk so that I can be in rhythm with them. So that wouldn’t necessarily be music that we would listen to the radio or record, but I think that noise can definitely be music.

Scott Kilian: That’s so funny that you talk about the blinker, because I do the same thing. I’m a drummer and I just can’t help it. For the last twenty years I’ve been doing the exact same thing and my son always asks me, “Papa, what are you doing?” “Playing music.”

Johner Riehl: So you’re not necessarily just doing that for your kid’s benefit.

Scott Kilian: No. And I’ve been long before Alex.

Johner Riehl: Are some kids naturally more musically talented than others? I bring that up because I have three kids myself and we’ve done some music classes with all of them – we’ll get into it a little more with some of the stuff that we’ve done. But we can look at our second kid and know that he’s got a totally different relationship with music than our first kid has. He can feel the beats, move around, dance to the rhythm in a way unlike the first kid did. What do you see with different kids? Is there such a thing as musical talent in kids?

Diana Davidson: I think musical talent is a very broad term, and one of the reasons why I love music is because it isn’t age specific, it’s stage specific. So what a child might be doing at age six can be the same thing that a child might be doing at age twelve; they can both be playing a brilliant piano piece by Mozart. Now while it is impressive that a six-year-old might be able to do that because they are so young, I don’t think it’s any less impressive that a twelve-year-old can do it for example. With anything, the more exposure and practice, the good role models that are around, and a nurturing environment, I think children can learn a great deal about music. And some might just be more attracted to it innately, but we are all born with the ability and aptitude to make music.

Johner Riehl: And so in your classes, it’s not about teaching musical talent; it’s about teaching music and movements. Tell be a little more about that.

Diana Davidson: Right. So we are not performance-based in our classes. It’s not about the final recital or the final show. It’s really learning music through music. We come together every week for 45 minutes and the families have the songs and the songbooks, the CDs that we use in class and the families can take that music home with them. The days of gathering around the piano after dinner just don’t exist anymore. So we are now the new “gathering around the piano” by sending families home with some music that they can use.
We sing, we dance, we play rhythm games, we play instruments and we are using a research-based curriculum called “Music Together”, which has been around for 25 years. In our classes we’re really using those songs and developing them. Sometimes we just sing them to sing; sometimes we’ll create around in the class; sometimes we’ll do some part-singing and it’s amazing how cool that a child can experience that live in class with mommy and daddy or grandma or nanny or who’s ever the loving grown-up that’s bringing them to class.
We use music from different countries, different languages, different tonalities, different rhythms, so that we’re really giving them a musical buffet. It’s a musical food that we’re feeding them of all kinds in our classes.

Johner Riehl: And the idea is not that that’s their one time to eat, that one our; You’re helping parents and you’re encouraging parents to spread that throughout the rest of their lives and throughout the rest of the time that they’re not in your class, right?

Diana Davidson: Yes. We encourage spontaneous music making at all times of the day and we want them to take that music home and make it their own and just have fun with it; and come to our classes and have fun and be silly and enjoy that time with their kids.

Scott Kilian: My family has been a big beneficiary of Diana’s class. My son is in one of her groups.

Johner Riehl: And that is a coincidence.

Scott Kilian: Big coincidence. And one of the things that I was looking at is this issue of why is music important. Diana has a way of getting the kids to clean up after they do certain things through a song. And my efforts to get my son to clean up without using a song are futile. Using the song – a lot better outcome than…

Johner Riehl: What’s the clean-up song?

Diana Davidson: Well we don’t really have a particular clean-up song. We use the song that we just sing and use it as a clean-up song or we’ll use the tones of that song to clean-up. So if we’re singing something like, (singing) “Zoom, zoom, driving in the car/ We’re going home today./ Let’s clean up the instruments pam-pam.” There you go.

Scott Kilian: And they all do it.

Diana Davidson: And they all do it. Try it at home.

Ursula McDonald: My son’s pre-school has an actual clean-up song that my son taught me, and – I’m no singer, so bear with me – but he taught all of us, and his little brother as well and it works with them and it’s (singing) “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up.” And they actually do it. This is the greatest thing in the world.

Johner Riehl: Yeah. We have taken all of our kids to a music class – different one than Songbirds. And our youngest – I think he thinks it’s the clean-up class. Because they play some instruments, they put them away, and he is almost more excited to put things away than he is. But I guess that must speak to something that’s going on, with the order and the development that music is encouraging that behavior.

Diana Davidson: Definitely. And in our classes we do work on routines and some structure. It’s not the kind of class where a child has to be sitting in mom and dad’s lap for 45 minutes, because developmentally that’s not appropriate. They’re going to be comfortable and free to explore the room around them and the people around them. But we definitely do have some routines and one of them is cleaning up the instruments after we use them, putting the scarfs back in the bag. And they love to do it.

Ursula McDonald: How is the movement incorporated into your classes? Because, you know, they do go together so much and it’s an important part of music I think.

Diana Davidson: Definitely. For us music is a full body experience, it’s not just about singing, but really incorporating the whole body. And some people find that they are more comfortable tapping their knees while some are more comfortable standing up and stumping their feet. You kind of have to find where in your body you are going to put your music. It might not just be in your voice; it might be all over your body. In the class we usually stand up at least three times. We always have a free movement dance, so we’ll take out some scarfs or sometimes we have ribbons or sometimes we’ll have bell or sometimes we have nothing, just the other friends in the class. And we’ll put on some music and do some free dance. Sometimes we do lightly choreographed things where I’m guiding the families along and telling them, “ok, four steps to the right and four steps to the left and in the middle and back out again.” And we use slow music, fats music, different kinds of music so that we can expose them to that.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, it’s so neat to see them respond to that and all the different movement and the music. Alright. (Singing) When we come back we’ll talk about some other stuff. We’re actually going to talk about some specific songs and some tips for different developmental ages of kids, that I know that you offer in class, and then I saw some information on the website about it too, so (singing) we’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]


Johner Riehl: Welcome back, everybody. Today we are talking about music and movement with Diana Davidson from Songbirds Music. So let’s talk about some developmentally appropriate activities for some different-aged kids. I’ve heard it said that music starts even before they’re born, right? And so we could start there, but this is Parent Savers. That might be more of a topic for Preggie Pals. But what about in-utero or right when babies are born, what are some music activities for that age?

Diana Davidson: Well if you have a hearing child, that’s one of the first things to develop in utero. At four months your child can hear. In utero. So that’s why when they’re born they turn to mommy’s voice, they know it. And daddy’s voice, they know that voice, they’ve been hearing it for so long. Singing and dancing with your child is always developmentally appropriate. You should always sing and dance with them at any age. It doesn’t matter if they’re newborn, it doesn’t matter if they’re 18. It’s something that you can always share and have fun doing together. But there are some specific activities that you can try depending on how old your child is. I get a lot of questions, “what am I going to do with my newborn in class?” And my answer is, “well, your child is not going to talk to you so why bother talking to them?” Well you talk to them because at some point they are going to talk back to you and it’s the same thing with music; at some point they are going to be singing and “lalala-ing” and cooing along. So talking, like singing, walking, like dancing – it’s all one and the same as far as we’re concerned. For newborns touch is very important. So, as you are singing to them or talking to them, tap the bottoms of their feet or rub their years – they love to be touched. You can crawl your fingers up and down their tummies as you’re singing to them. They’re getting that touch and also, since they are on their backs, they’re facing you, they’re focusing on your mouth and your face, so they’re watching you sing as well as watch the movements of your mouth. If you wear your baby as you’re walking around the neighborhood you can sing about the things you see: (singing) “Look, there’s a birdie. Look there’s a birdie on our street.” It can be anything so simple, but changing it into a little tune makes it something different and fun for you to do with your child. Sing to them while you’re changing diapers. They, again, are focusing on your mouth. It makes diaper changing so much more fun for both of you. This is also a good one: once your child gets into that “I’m going to wiggle while you change my diaper” stage – if you sing to them they’ll stop and focus on what you’re doing instead of wiggle around. When you are playing – let’s say you have a six month old – if they have a favorite toy, when you are playing with them and their favorite toy, move that favorite toy to the beat of whatever song you are singing and show them what that beat might look like as their little car’s moving around. Sing to them and give them some silence space and see if they’ll sing back to you. A lot of times they will, they’ll give you some sound feedback. And then sing it back to them and so you can play a little vocal game with them. That would be good for newborns to six-month-olds. Remember that repetition is good, they love to hear the same stories; they also like to hear the same songs, so be ready to put on that replay button.

Johner Riehl: Ok, repetition is good.

Diana Davidson: Repetition is good. For our older ones, one and two-year-olds perhaps, you can sing about anything we talked about - singing to put things away. Turn your life into a musical! You can sing about brushing your teeth, about getting dressed, about zipping up your jacket. This makes everyday chores a little more fun for them and a little bit more fun for you, especially if it’s a challenging one.
Children, especially one and two-year-olds, love to hear their names; so sing a song that has their names in it. You can turn any tune, like Old McDonald, (singing) “Little Hanna’s getting dressed, lalalalala.” And make it fun about them getting dressed. And then they’re hearing their name and they get so excited to hear their name. You can have a stuffed animal dance party with all the stuffed animals, put on some music and there they are with you on the dance floor. Moms and dads and grandmas and nannies and loving grown-ups, don’t be shy to grab a stuffed animal and dance along, have fun.

Johner Riehl: That’s a good idea. Because we have so many stuffed animals I don’t know what to do with all of them. They just sit there.

Diana Davidson: You have a disco party, of course! You don’t have to have tea with them. Maybe you can have tea afterwards.
Kitchen play-alongs are always great. Take out your wooden spoons, those Tupperware that don’t have the matching lid or the lid is warped; turn them into percussive instruments. You don’t have to buy anything, it’s right there with you. Have a kitchen jam session while you’re cooking dinner. Give them some pots and pans and wooden spoons and turn on some music. It will be easier to cook dinner for you and you’ll have something to do while you’re making dinner. Another thing you can try is turning regular stories into musical story time. So a book like “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see that we all know and love”, instead of just reading it, sing it. (Singing) “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a yellow duck looking at me.” And it kind of changes the way the story goes. In our music classes, because we give the families a song book that goes along with the music that we are doing in class, you can use that song book as a story time book for them. And at any age you can always sing lullabies. It’s a lovely ritual to do with your child before nap time, before sleep time. It calms him down, it might calm you down, and you can turn any song into a lullaby. Just slow it down and sing it softly close to their heads and their years. And you might not always remember exactly what mom wore or dad looked like or grandma’s doing, but we often remember the songs that our loving grown-ups sang to us when we were children. So you can start creating those musical memories for your own child as well.

Johner Riehl: We sing the same three songs in a row at bedtime every night. And we have ever since our six-year-old was young, so the other ones have picked up on it too. But it was neat: the other night our almost two-year-old was kind of leading the singing of ABCD and… to one of your points, the alphabet song is kind of short, so we made up a middle verse and then we have extended it to be like a double version of it with some of our own words. And that’s a fun thing too, to create your own songs and create your own music. And then we do the extended version of “Marry had a little lamb”, which is like twelve verses long. And we actually know all of them because we had them on our music CD. But he was leading it, our almost two-year-old. And it was so neat to see him and I know that the repetition was really getting through to him. Scott, you have something to say.

Scott Kilian: Yeah. The other thing is, as I was listening to Diana, the singing (and I’m far from singing in a competition), at least for my son, is such a centering thing; when things are melting down and everything is kind of going south, south, south, making up a song with his name, giving him something to do, he forgets everything and I’ve got him. I’ve got his focus and attention and we can move along with things. And I was just thinking about that; I need to do that more because it does work; and it works really well.

Ursula McDonald: Yeah. I use music a lot. Music is huge in our life. We have a huge music collection, but I like to use music to help direct their moods a little bit. So if I see them getting too worked up I’ll put on Mozart. Or if I want them to sit down and work on their workbooks or their puzzles, I’ll put on something like Mozart until they’ll concentrate. If they’re being lackadaisical and I want to energize them a little bit, then I’ll put on some rock’n’roll and get them moving and singing and stuff. But I was also thinking back when you were asking our expert at what age children can respond to music and stuff, and of course that starts in the womb, but it reminded me of when my older son was under a year old, he was still a baby, and as he was trying to put himself to sleep and I was still sitting in the rocker and he was laying down in his bed and he would do this roll call where he would name everybody that he loved in his life right before he went to sleep; but then he made his own song. He was just a baby and he’d go, (singing) “maaamamama, daaadadada, paapapapa, naaananana”. And he’d go through everybody that he knew and it was just his kind of way to soothe himself and go to sleep and I thought that was so sweet.

Diana Davidson: Beautiful. Very sweet.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, you definitely need to remember that. So we talked a little bit about… you know, what you were going through was creating some of your own instruments. But what about real instruments, that are actually meant to be musical instruments? Is there anything that you would recommend for families to have? I know that we have a music box at home with all the various instruments that we have and a lot of times when kids come over they’ll create their own band. I found that a harmonica is really fun, they can blow in and out, do whatever they want. The downside of that is that we’ll all sharing germs, but we’re sharing germs anyway. So what instruments do you see? Like real life instruments that you think are good for kids.

Diana Davidson: So real-life instruments: floor drums are always great. They actually don’t get too loud, but they are very accessible to kids of any age, even the little ones who aren’t walking yet can just crawl over and tap on the drums. And the old ones, of course, can go crazy and jam on them. So floor drums are really, really great instruments to have. Basic things like maracas and egg shakers – kids love egg shakers. They fit in their hands, they get immediate satisfaction because they can produce the sound all by themselves.

Johner Riehl: Right, just by shaking it.

Diana Davidson: That’s right.

Johner Riehl: And then you can - going back to the crafty idea - you can make something like that pretty easily.

Diana Davidson: Yes.

Scott Kilian: One fact: Alex’s grandma made him a little plastic container that had some coffee beans in it and it has an ability to switch pictures out on the inside. So we took pictures, there were pictures of him, pictures of his family, and he could look at those and shake it. And he seemed to gravitate towards that and use it. So that was a nice thing.

Ursula McDonald: Yey, grandma!

Scott Kilian: Yey, grandma.

Johner Riehl: Ursula, you were saying earlier before we were taping that your son is recognizing different kinds of music, right?

Ursula McDonald: Yeah. I go to a lot of concerts and even when I was pregnant I would take my boys to concerts and stuff. So they like all different kinds of music. It’s funny, they’ll tell me, “hey, mommy, listen! That’s blues music!” like when we go to Phil’s barbecue. “That is blues music!” Or they’ll go, “Oh, that’s jazz!” and I’m like, “How do you know that’s jazz? Do you hear the horns? That sounds like jazz horns.” And it’s just so cute how they can pick out different genres, from classical to punk rock even. And they can also… he’ll tell me, “Mommy, is this in Spanish?” because we listen to music from all around the world. So he can tell when there’s a different language being sung and I think that’s so cool to let them know that music is something that connects all different cultures. So even if you’re experiencing music – and we’re kind of focusing and saying, “oh, we’re talking about music and movement” – well actually that can connect a lot of different things. You can talk about math with music and you can talk about cultures with music; you can talk about history; you can talk about a lot of different things.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, music is really a gateway to learning a lot more. It opens up the brain, it gets them to focus and it can lead to a lot of other topics. Alright. We’re starting running out of time, so let’s crystalize… if you had a top tip for parents that were looking into making music or incorporating music into their lives. I imagine that it’s something that we’re all interested in and hopefully after listening to this show we’ll all be singing to our kids more. But what would you say is your top tip for listeners?

Diana Davidson: I would say that my top tip is that, regardless of your musical ability your voice is your child’s favorite voice, so remember to just have fun. And you don’t have to be the next American idol, the best singer in the world; just have fun and model; be a good music model for your child. Play the music that you like. Expose him to music and have fun with it! Just have fun and be silly.

Johner Riehl: There’s this level you reach with parenting, when it finally clicks, you realize that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of how I’m looking or what I’m doing. If I’m engaging with my kids and giving them what they need, who cares if the person in the car next to me thinks that I’m crazy for dancing around like that.

Diana Davidson: They’ll just be jealous.

Johner Riehl: Alright, thanks so much, Diana, for joining us today. Thanks, everyone, for listening. For more information about music or movement or for information about any of our super-parents and panelists, visit the episode page on our website. We’re actually going to continue the conversation for members of our Parent Savers Club. After the show Diana will tell us more about some fun musical games. For more information about the Parent Savers Club visit our website,

[Theme Music]


[Featured Segments: Buying New Baby Items]

Johner Riehl: Here’s a question from Barbara. Barbara writes, “We like to think of ourselves as being a green family. One of the things we’re passionate about is not buying everything new, especially when it comes to our baby’s toys. But at the same time I still want his toys to be safe. Are there certain items that we should always buy new?

Julie Valesse: This is Julie Vallese, consumer safety expert. Barbara, not only are people making choices of reusing and recycling products for a more green society, but some, out of necessity, are doing it because of financial. And that can make a lot of sense. When purchasing anything second-hand for a baby, make sure to be diligent in checking for any loose or missing pieces, chips, tares or chords that could be hazardous. Always check to see if a product has been recalled. However there are a number of products that I would recommend not buying used. The first would be a car seat. You never know if a car seat has been in a crash, even just a minor fender bender. Also, car seats do expire, so the life of them is not as long as one might expect. Another area would be those products where children sleep. Cribs in particular are a product that shouldn’t be purchased used. The regulations for cribs have changed significantly just over the past couple of years. You do want to make sure that you have a crib that complies with all new regulations. Also having all of the original parts and instructions is a must for cribs. And often with used ones that kind of things can get lost. When it comes to any children’s product – either a gear or toys – the best thing to do is check to make sure that the product hasn’t been recalled.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Parent Savers. Don’t forget to check out our sister show Preggie Pals for expecting parents, and our show The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their baby. They just celebrated one year of taping. I know because I have their mimosas on the table.

Scott Kilian: Boy, did they celebrate.

Johner Riehl: They did celebrate. Next week on Parent Savers we are going to be talking about baby nutrition and starting your baby on solid food, so definitely join us for that. This is Parent Savers, empowering new parents.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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