Have you ever seen toddlers in nursery change from a frenzied, busy mass of tiny humanity into a set of animatronic robots all working in sync? And all it took was,
“Clean up! Clean up! Everybody, everywhere! Clean Up! Clean Up! Everybody, Do Your Share!”
Or tell me what distinguishes an everyday cake from a birthday cake? The birthday cake comes with a song!
Both transitions and traditions are improved through the use of gospel music at home. Here’s how we do it.
Since my teenager was a toddler, we have read scriptures as a family at night. When he was three, we read three verses a night. (Yes! You can eventually make it through the Book of Mormon by reading only three verses a night!) To help guide the transition from Thomas the Tank Engine to Abinadi the prophet, we always started our scripture reading with “Scripture Power!” Singing the song has always helped set the tone for moving from our other activities into family scripture reading, and it has served as a daily reminder to our kids: “Every day I need the power that I get each time I read.”
When we put my youngest to bed (as we have with her brothers before her), we read two books, pray, and then my daughter climbs in bed and we sing. It used to vary night after night, but somewhere around 18 months old, she landed on two songs she liked above all others and so we sing “I Wonder When He Comes Again” and “I Am a Child of God.” My other children have varied in their song choice, but music has signaled the transition into bedtime and made for fewer nighttime delays and distractions.
Music can be used as a timer for getting ready for bed (“Teeth brushed and jammies on by the time this song finishes!”).
Or a call to come for Family Home Evening (we use “I Will Be Valiant”).
The Birthday Song:
I’ve never cared for the traditional Happy Birthday song, so about 12 years ago, I made a new one. I took a familiar tune and added words to fit. Having our own unique birthday song is one way to strengthen family identity.
Since I was a little girl at my grandmother’s house, we have always played the chimes at Christmas. We have large poster boards with the chime numbers written in order to play the carols. Even a very young child can play and be part of making this music. They get such a kick out of it, too!
How can you use music to smooth transitions, create traditions, and strengthen family bonds this week and this year?