by Beverly Smith, Kindermusik mom
Before her baby sister came along, I knew there were a lot of things I needed to do. One priority was teaching Isabelle how to do some essential tasks independently. I focused on what would be important once the baby arrived, like changing her clothes, putting clothes away, brushing her teeth, using the potty, washing her hands, and putting away her toys. Her learning those responsibilities would help me when it came to juggling her needs and those of her sister. I knew, too, that it would help her to become more confident in herself. Though the process took time, these days, I feel like she’s become my little assistant.
What our children learn in Kindermusik can help out tremendously at home. From the very first class Isabelle took, she was learning about cleaning up as the kids learn to “gently and carefully” put instruments away. She learned by seeing, then by helping, and finally by doing it herself in class. In the teaching world this is called scaffolding, gradually giving the work over to the child. This concept easily transfers at home. She started cleaning up her toys with me before she was a year old. We would practice the ASL sign and sing the song for cleaning up from Kindermusik, too. Now a majority of the time she’ll automatically clean up her toys after playing without prompting. This helps keep the toys from getting into her sister’s reach, especially the ones that could be hazardous, and it saves me tons of time (every minute counts with an infant at home)!
My husband and I both tell people that we have no idea where Isabelle gets her coordination because we’re the clumsiest people around. I believe her balance and coordination have become a strength for her because it’s something she practices every week at Kindermusik — whether it’s through movement, instrument playing, using various objects to dance and play in class, or just simply learning dance moves that go along with the songs. Before she could walk, our Kindermusik teachers told us about stimulating the vestibular system (the fluids of the inner ear) by rocking and “flying” our babies through the air, and that this would help our kiddos with balance and coordination. These skills helped her, now, to be coordinated enough to dress herself, wash her hands, and help out around the house. Plus, it can be a big help when I’m nursing and can’t be there to assist Isabelle.
For Isabelle, learning to listen and follow directions is constantly reinforced in Kindermusik (in fun and engaging ways), and it makes my taking care of a baby so much easier. When I’m changing a diaper and need something like wipes or a diaper she is so helpful. If I’m folding clothes and need help putting things away she is amazing. I also find it handy to have a helpful toddler when her sister is crying and I desperately need a new pacifier. All I have to do is give her step-by-step directions and my helper is ready and willing. Every week in Kindermusik Isabelle has practiced listening to a teacher for directions, “turning on her ears” to listen actively to sounds and music, and following the simplest of classroom routines. This weekly practice has made her mature enough to do so many things to help mommy at home. I would be lost, a lot more tired, and have so much more stress if I didn’t have such a great assistant, and am so grateful to Kindermusik for helping to lay the foundation for such important development!