The Parenting Tool that Gets Giggles out of Your Kids (and Yourself)

tickleImagine a tool for parenting that could make your day-to-day life easier? What if it didn’t cost you anything? What if you could pull it out of your back pocket any time you need to?

A well loved rhyme leads to laughter, giggles, tickles, and smiles. It can help diffuse a toddler heading towards a tantrum, and can help pass the time  while waiting in long line ups (at grocery stores, doctor’s offices, etc.). Even diapering and bathing routines can be  fun when we sing or chant a little, and they also incorporate learning opportunities.

Rhymes benefit both children and adults. For children, hearing mom or dad’s voice while playing, cuddling, and tickling creates bonding and a safe learning environment. Feeling loved is important for learning language and learning to understand concepts.

For adults, the benefit is that many stressful situations can be diffused with songs. Sing a song that helps your children wait for the meal you’re preparing, a song that helps get those teeth brushed, or a song that helps get them buckled into a car seat. Doing rhymes and songs with your children also allows you to be a kid again, even if only for moments at a time.

Tickling not only strengthens your bonds with your children, it is said to have the positive effects of increased trust and strengthened relationships. It is a way to share laughter, even before young children are old enough to understand humour. When they get older, children want to make you laugh. Most 3 year olds I know love to tickle their parents back when they sing tickle songs, and the adults laugh and get to share a moment of happiness with their children.

I’ve read that the average child laughs around 300 times a day, compared to the average teenager who may only laugh 160 times a day and the average adult who only laughs 25 times a day. Maybe because children are so honest with their emotions, they can laugh so easily and so easily crack a smile. And those smiles are infectious, so spending time laughing and smiling with children might increase the daily amounts of laughter you get in return!

While not every moment in parenthood is picture perfect, you can be certain that the more you share of yourselves and your time with your children, the more long lasting memories you will have.

Set some time aside for a few tickle songs this season; share the joy of hearing your children laugh with other family members. Here are some to try:

Gingerbread Man

Mix it and stir it and pat it in a pan (circle baby’s tummy with fingers)
I’m going to make me a Gingerbread Man
With a nose so neat, and a smile so sweet (tap nose and mouth gently)
And some gingerbread shoes for his gingerbread feet (tickle feet)

Tickle Monster

What will you do when the tickle monster comes? (hold hands palm up like a question)
Are you going to hide (hide eyes like in peek a boo)
Or are you going to run (pretend to run with arms in motion)
What will you do when the tickle monster comes? (same as first line)
You better decide right……now! (take your time to come closer and try to tickle child)

Walking Through The Garden

(This rhyme you are circling babies tummy or back round and round and then walking fingers up to their neck or under arms and tickle tickle tickle when you find the teddy bear)

Walking through the garden,
Lost my teddy bear
One step, two step
Found him under there

Walking through the garden
Through the wind and rain
One step, two step
Found him there again

Treasure Hunt

Going on a treasure hunt (crawl fingers up baby’s back)
X marks the spot (draw big X with your finger)
Boulder here (draw little circle on one side with finger)
Boulder there (draw another circle on the other side with finger)
Dot dot dot (connect the boulders with a light touch dot dot dot)

Crabs crawling up your spine (crawl fingers lightly up towards baby’s neck)
Water rolling down (roll fingers lightly down towards baby’s bum)
Tight Squeeze (give a little hug)
Cool Breeze (gently blow in their hair)
Now you’ve go the shivereeze (lightly tickle everywhere)

 

Rhymes that Bind is an oral literacy program where we share rhymes, finger play, lullabies, and even moving-around-the-room songs with parents and caregivers and their young children. Through rhymes and songs, the adults discover tools to play with, distract, and even enjoy teachable moments with their children. To join us for some very interactive fun, check our website for a Rhymes that Bind program near you!

 

A Tickle Rhyme is More than Just a Tickle Rhyme

Mother and toddler sitting on the sofa at home

Our Rhymes that Bind program has a variety of songs and rhymes, but for some us the tickle rhyme section is our favourite.

Spending time face-to–face with your child will connect you to them on their own level emotionally and physically. This will help to build strong attachment between you and your child.

There is an increasing body of knowledge about infant mental health that states that a huge part of attachment and positive infant development occurs in face-to–face interactions with parents and significant caregivers.

An infant learns how to adapt to stressors by watching their parent or caregiver’s facial expressions. They learn how to move from a negative to a positive emotional state through many stimuli that pass back and forth from caregiver to infant in face-to-face interactions.

A child learns the positive and fun emotional tones from tickle songs. Tickle songs let you and your child have a fun time together with both of you enjoying each other’s laughter.

A favourite at our Rhymes that Bind programs is the following timeless rhyme:

Round and Round the Garden

Round and Round the Garden (use a gentle tickle motion with your fingers on your child’s palm or tummy in a circle)
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step (walk fingers up the arm or tummy)
And I tickle you under there! (tickle the underarm)

Round and round the garden (use a gentle tickle motion with your fingers on your child’s palm or tummy in a circle)
Through the snow and wind (blow gently on their neck)
One step, two step (walk fingers up the arm or tummy)
I’ll tickle you there again! (tickle the underarm)

When repeated enough times your child will anticipate the tickle as soon as you say, “one step, two steps!

This is one of the many wonderful rhymes that you and your child can learn at our Rhymes that Bind program. Check for a program near you on the Centre for Family Literacy website! Happy tickling!

So What is Rhymes that Bind?

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So what is Rhymes that Bind? It is a fun program for families that promotes language development—the foundation for literacy—through rhymes, songs, and stories.

The program runs once a week for ten weeks. We play, have fun, and sing with our infants and toddlers, helping our them to develop strong language skills. A snack is given half way through the hour-long program, and the program is free!

To maximize your Rhymes that Bind experience, be prepared to :

  • Be adventurous and willing to try a boisterous experience with your child or children, interacting and engaging with them through our repertoire of tickle, bouncy, action songs and lullabies.
  • Practice your social skills by connecting with other moms, dads, or caregivers who can commiserate with you about the challenges and wonders of parenting. New friendships are made here.
  • Sit in a yoga pose or other comfortable position on a blanket of your choice on the floor. Being at eye level with your child gives you a whole new perspective on how they engage with you.
  • Learn a new songs that your child will have you sing over and over again until you are completely and utterly ready to give up singing for life!
  • Anticipate that a toddler, besides your own, may come and plop themselves into your lap. This can happen soon after they have become comfortable. Seeing and hearing you develop a relationship with their parent makes you a safe and secure place to be.
  • Bring along your “parenting toolbox” of ideas. Add to it new tools for connecting and transitioning, and fun routines through songs and play. Build confidence in your parenting as you share your tips/tools with others.
  • Connect with your community and discover what else might be happening in and around your neighborhood. Seeing other families you recognize in the community builds friendships. Why not plan a play date at the park?
  • Discover a program near you; the program is delivered in many communities across Edmonton. Most families can attend with a short drive, bus ride, or even a walk. Pick a day of the week and a location that works for your schedule.
  • Have an outing—get out of the house.
  • Have FUN! Plain and simple. Come out and see for yourself!

Rhymes that Bind fall schedule begins Monday, October 3, 2016. All of our programs are drop-in except for our multi-generational program (held at Touchmark at Wedgewood,  1833 Lessard Road). This program requires preregistration.

For more information or to register, please call 780 421-7324 ext. 235, email info@famlit.ca, or check the Centre for Family Literacy website: www.famlit.ca

 

Splash Time Rhymes that Bind

Rhymes in pool

♥  Children learn about rhyme, rhythm and playing with language

♥  Language skills help children become readers

Here are a few fun songs to do with your children while blowing bubbles, while at the pool, beach, or water park, or while driving to an event!

Little Bubbles (this is a great little counting song to help practice numbers)

One little, two little, three little bubbles,
four little, five little, six little bubbles,
seven little, eight little, nine little bubbles.
Ten little bubbles go,
POP, POP, POP!

Splish Splash Water (to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Splish splash water,
Splish splash water,
On your toes, on your toes,
On your fingers, on your fingers,
On your nose, on your nose.

Splish, splash, water,
Splish, splash water,
On your hair, on your hair,
On your face, on your face,
Everywhere! Everywhere!

Old MacDonald had a Pool (an old favourite with a little twist: substitute amphibians, mammals, or other animals that go into the water, like a dog)

Old MacDonald had a pool,
E I E I O,
And in that pool he had a duck,
E I E I O,
With a quack, quack here,
And a quack, quack there,
Here a quack, there a quack,
Everywhere a quack, quack,
Old MacDonald had a pool,
E I E I O.

She Fell into the Bathtub (this is a fun bouncy song for sitting in the baby pool with your baby or toddler on your lap)

She/He fell into the bathtub,
She/He fell into the sink,
(Lean child from one side, then to the other)
She/He fell into the raspberry jam,
(Let them fall between your knees)
And then came out pink.
(Lift up your baby or toddler)

We put her in the backyard,
And left her in the rain,
(Make the rain by snapping with your fingers)
By half past suppertime,
(Rock side to side)
It washed him/her clean again!
(Wide open arms for a big hug)

Our Rhymes that Bind programs will begin again at various locations around Edmonton on Monday, October 3, 2016. Our complete fall RTB program schedule will be posted on the Centre for Family Literacy website by late August. We look forward to seeing everyone with their infants or toddlers at one of our free drop-in programs.

(One program location requires registration because it is an Intergenerational program located in a senior’s facility: Touchmark at Wedgewood, 18333 Lessard Road, Edmonton on Tuesday mornings, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

To register for the Intergenerational program, or for more information about Rhymes that Bind, call the Centre for Family Literacy at 780.421.7323.

Have a wonderful summer including lots of fun activities with your children!

 

Socialization and Toddlers

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Many parents cringe at the thought of getting their toddlers to socialize. After all, one of their favourite words is “ No!”

If toddlers are in a social situation where they are unfamiliar with the people, they have a definite social space surrounding themselves and their parent or caregiver; they are in fact glued to their parent’s hip or leg! Don’t think for a minute that you are going to be allowed in! Saying hello to the little one may result in a look that makes you take a step back.

Children begin showing interest in their peers around the age of two years. Younger toddlers tend to engage mostly in parallel play, where they play next to each other without much interaction. Even if they want to interact with another child, at this age children lack the social skills to do so.

Try to create opportunities to help your children learn to interact with their peers and acknowledge adults. This is a skill that children have to learn with a lot of prompting and practice.

The absolute best way to teach this skill to your toddler is to model it yourself. Use a free community outing like Rhymes that Bind as an opportunity to show your toddler how to interact with others; you can greet someone you don’t even know! Parent and child classes give your toddler an opportunity to socialize with same age peers and others from 0-3 years, as well as to become comfortable with new adults.

Rhymes is a perfect place for this as we are very welcoming, and there are ten weeks in every session. Children flourish with routine and knowledge that this is a safe and fun place to be with their parent or caregiver. Once you have come to Rhymes a couple of times, you and your children will recognize the facilitators and some of the other families.

You can make a little game of socializing. Tell your toddler that the two of you are going to greet, say, ten people today, then briefly talk about each person you have greeted and count them.

At Rhymes that Bind, the songs are interactive, and after several weeks your toddler will be comfortable enough to get up and move around with the other children. You will soon notice your toddler coming into a Rhymes program like it is their program. You will see your little one recognize the facilitators—or another little person—greet them, and sit down, leaving you on your own!

See you at Rhymes that Bind!

For more about Rhymes that Bind or to find a program near you in Edmonton, check the Centre for Family Literacy website.

 

Singing with Your Toddler

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Here are some special tips for singing with your toddler.

  • Any time is a good time to sing with your toddler!
  • Routines provide opportunities for your child to hear the lyrics over and over again as the task is repeated during the day. Examples of daily routines include diaper changing /going potty, getting dressed, getting in the carseat, cleaning up the toys, or putting on their shoes.
  • A lively song such as “Ring Around the Rosie” might be more appropriate for an active part of the day than at bedtime.
  • Singing during routines can make a less desirable task more enjoyable for a child who is resistant to the activity.

Getting Started

  • Your child does not care whether you can carry a tune or not—being able to connect with you is exciting for them and creates a special bond between the two of you.
  • Sing about what is familiar or interests your child—whether it is a made-up song or a well-known song such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
  • Follow your child’s lead and sing something that encourages your child to join in with you!
  • Keep it simple! Your child loves repetition and they will learn from it. Repeat the lyrics and keep the words to a minimum. You might get tired of the song but your child won’t!
  • Keep it fun! If your child sees that you are having a blast making up songs, they will begin to come up with their own songs as their vocabulary increases.

Piggyback Songs

Piggyback songs are songs that use an existing melody with new lyrics. Make sure the words you use are ones that your child understands.

Here is a piggyback song to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.”

This is the way Jacob washes his hands
Washes his hands, washes his hands
This is the way Jacob washes his hands
Now they are nice and clean!

  • Putting your child’s name in a song makes it personal and fun. This song is made especially for your child. It begins to give them a love for language.
  • It teaches them their name; other family members can be added too, and eventually you can begin to add a last name.
  • This tune has the ability to carry into any routine of the day for you and your child. It can help distract, calm, and comfort your toddler—a useful technique for defusing the occasional frustrations of parenting.

Following is a link to a video clip of a parent encouraging a toddler to sing:

Singing with your toddler

Have FUN!

Check our website for more information about Rhymes that Bind and find a program near you in Edmonton.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

 

Children Love Your Stories

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Oral skills include both speaking and listening, and are at the root of literacy. Listening to the rhythm of the language spoken around them will help your children discover the rules of that language. When your children experiment with their voices, they will try to mimic how you speak to them. The words they understand best and use first are the ones that represent what is most important to them, such as names or titles of family members or pets, or their favourite foods and toys. As their understanding of the language expands, so does their vocabulary.

Some simple ways you can expose your children to language are to:

  • Narrate what you are doing around them as if you are telling a story—while you are diapering, bathing or feeding for instance
  • Make up stories or retell stories
  • Tell them what you were like as a child or what they were like as newborns
  • Tell them over and over again about the many things related to what they love most—their families and themselves

Babies and toddlers will pay close attention to a rhyme or story they hear repeatedly to pick out words they are familiar with. When you repeat your story several times, toddlers understand the beginning, middle and end, anticipating what happens next. You can expand your stories as your children gain more experience.

It is important for children to have a good understanding of the mechanics of their language before they can move to the next step—reading and writing! Singing rhymes to your children increases their phonemic awareness, among other things. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds—phonemes—in spoken words. Before children learn to read print, they need to become aware of how the sounds in words work.

Young children, who have been exposed to a rich vocabulary and ways to use it, can become the storytellers. It is a great exercise for a preschooler to be able to retell what happened yesterday, what they saw at the zoo, or what a grandparent gave them on their birthday. They have to remember in what order the things happened without a picture book to help with the story. They may get the details mixed up, but encourage them to tell their story the way they recall it. They are learning how to remember the beginning, middle and end. They are trying to put the correct words in place of images in their minds. Prompt them if needed.

One of the best experiences I have had as a parent is sitting around a table, living room, or campfire with my children, friends and extended family, retelling stories of our past. My older children have heard these stories so many times, they are eager to share them with  the youngest family members. “Tell the one about you and Uncle when you were…” the little ones might say! There are so many stories for them to pick from! Our family shares stories of our elders who are now gone, and our children can retell some of them as if they were there themselves.

So another important thing that happens with oral storytelling, especially when it is about your family, is the bonding that brings you together. Every family has a story! Don’t forget to teach yours to your children, especially since many of our families are spread around the world.

Sing with your child, talk with your child, read with your child, play with your child, everyday!

Check our website for more information about Rhymes that Bind in Edmonton and find a program near you.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

 

Reaching Out After the Season

RTBAt this time of year there is a lingering festive atmosphere as people are slow to get back into their pre-holiday routines. Many people are still with their families and friends, extending the holiday seasons.

Though the holidays are over for many of us, we still need other people in our lives to thrive and be well. Being around other people makes us happy, and when we are happy we are more fun to be around, creating an “upward spiral “of happiness! Happy people are more helpful, pleasant, and sociable.

Belonging to a group or a community gives us a sense of identity. Community helps us to understand who we are and feel part of something larger than ourselves.

Rhymes that Bind creates both happiness and a sense of community every session. Join us for one session and you will be hooked. Our programs are beginning the week of January 12 throughout the city.

Along with our regular programming, we have Intergenerational (children, parents and seniors together) and Multicultural programming.

Our programs give newcomers an opportunity to make connections and friendships. Rhymes that Bind can help new moms build their own little community that reaches outside our programming.

Here is a great little song to help get you thinking about the week of January 12, 2016:

The More We Get Together
The more we get together, together, together.
The more we get together the happier we will be.
Cause your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends.
The more we get together the happier we will be!

Check our website for more information about Rhymes that Bind in Edmonton and find a program near you.

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

 

Easing into the Season of Festivities

(with little ones in tow!)

Sing

With all of the rush at this time of year, it is easy to forget what this looks like to the little ones around us. They don’t understand why adults need to hustle and bustle. At a time when we are busy checking off items on our lists, running from here to there, having more visitors (or doing more visiting), we need to remember to adjust our pace and our expectations of our small children.

It is helpful to remember that all of the changes to our little one’s schedule can result in behavioural changes such as mood swings or shorter attention spans; they can also be extra clingy to parents amidst so many new people. Add in that it is cold and flu season thanks to our increased social schedules and change in sleeping and eating habits. (More sweets than usual can cause irritability too). Mix all of these changes together and we have a recipe for a tantrum – for any toddler (older ones too)!

There are a few easy things anyone can do to help the situation, any place, with no equipment, toys or tools required.

  • Count to 3 – yes you, not them!
  • Take a few deep breaths when you feel that tantrum building up (theirs or yours)
  • Try a rhyme, or two or three! You can so easily redirect a mood by singing a song!

You can still complete your task and check off that list – just take time to breathe and be silly and have fun with your child!

Many holiday songs are directed to children. If you cannot remember the words and you only recall the tune, make up your own verses. Older children will enjoy helping twist common songs and rhymes into your own family treasures!

Here’s a twist on a familiar tune. Hum a few notes from “Jingle Bells” and you will be ready to sing this one:

Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
One fell on my nose
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
One fell on my toes
Snowflakes falling snowflakes falling
One fell on my head
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
Now its time to sled!

Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
One fell on my knee
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
All around me-e
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
This I’m going to dread
Snowflakes falling, snowflakes falling
Dad says time for bed!

Come and join us for some fun at one of the Rhymes that Bind programs throughout the city. Find more information about Rhymes that Bind and our Edmonton program schedule here

hashtag: #RTB_Edm

Lullabies

Lullabies belong to the instinctive nature of motherhood

– Richard Dubrill

Mom & BabyLullabies have been sung to children for centuries. Wherever you travel, women all over the world use the same tones, the same kind of pattern for singing to their babies. The sound of the lullaby mimics movement in the womb. It is a very basic song with a few words being repeated over and over.

The sound is meant to be sleep inducing and is rooted in love, tenderness and caring.

One of the earliest lullabies recorded chastises a baby for waking the house with its crying and threatens the baby with being eaten by a demon if it does not shut up right now.

An African lullaby sung in Western Africa begins with Rock, Rock, Rock and warns the baby that if it cries it could be eaten by a hyena. It is hard to believe that a lullaby with such dark undertones could be soothing to a baby.

The most popular lullaby, Rock a bye Baby, also tells of how the baby and cradle will drop from the bough of a tree. There are a couple of claims as to how the song began:

In American history, it is said that a young pilgrim boy saw a Native Indian mother suspend her baby from the branch of a tree. The wind was able to rock the cradle and put baby to sleep. The rhyme was known as “Hush a bye baby!”

In English history, a family with eight children, who lived in a massive Yew Tree that was 2000 years old, carved out a tree bough that was used as a cradle for their children.

Lullabies that are sung to a baby are a natural and effective way to bond and develop the human connection. It can be done through eye contact, loving touches and cuddling. Lullabies calm, comfort and help babies and their mothers feel secure.

The lullabies that are sung at Rhymes that Bind have changed from the traditional “Hush a bye Baby.”

Rock a Bye Baby

Rock a bye baby on the treetop,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
And Daddy or Mommy will catch you, cradle and all.

Another popular song is to the tune of Michael Row your Boat Ashore:

Let’s Be Quiet

Now it’s time for us to rest
Let’s be quiet
Now it’s time for us to rest
Let’s be quiet

You’ve been busy all day long
Let’s be quiet
You’ve been busy all day long
Let’s be quiet

Close your eyes for just awhile
Let’s be quiet
Close your eyes for just awhile
Let’s be quiet

(hum a verse )

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what are

ABCs

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Now I know my ABC’s next time won’t you count with me?
Cat’s and dogs and baby sheep
When I count I fall asleep

 

Come and join us for some lullabies at one of the Rhymes that Bind programs throughout the city. Find more information about Rhymes that Bind and our Edmonton program schedule here

hashtag: #RTB_Edm