Since my daughter was born, if I was putting her to sleep, I rocked her in my arms and sang to her. It was known as the Daddy Shake. You Are My Sunshine has been mine and Krista's lullaby of choice since day one.
The longer it took for Zinnia to fall asleep, the softer and slower I sang to her, hoping to ease her into sleep. Most nights she fell asleep in minutes. Some nights it took a lot longer and countless verses were sung.
For some time now, Zinnia has gone to sleep on her own. She loves falling asleep to an acoustic playlist on Apple Music. Last week we were at Zinnia's grandparent’s house. Being out of our routine, I ended up rocking her to sleep in a recliner.
Rocking her flooded me with memories of the Daddy Shake and the singing that was a part of it. I opted out of the playlist and instead sang to her.
My time away from this being the norm made me realize and ponder some of the benefits of singing to our children:
1) It helps build a secure attachment.
From the beginning of my life as a parent, building a strong bond with Zinnia has been of utmost importance to me. From singing to Zinnia when she was in Krista’s belly, to now singing along with her, it has played a crucial role in our connection.
2) Language Development.
This article is great if you are interested in learning about brain studies that have been done that argue the connection between singing to children early on and their language development.
3) It is a great tool to stay present.
It is easy to lose ourselves in our minds. An example of this is feeling frustrated when our babies do not fall asleep as quickly as we expect them to. Singing to and with Zinnia has been an easy way for me to squash my ego and be in the moment. I am then able to recognize the beauty of the fleeting moment, as it is happening, changing my mood and energy from annoyed and negative to loving and positive.
Being vulnerable with our children as well as modelling vulnerability with others, in the presence of our children, is essential. When my daughter was a newborn, I initially became self conscious about being my new dad self in front of others. Singing to her when people could hear me was the first step to me becoming a confident and vulnerable parent regardless of the situation.
So for the growth of us and our children and the strengthening of our parent child bond: Let's sing as much as we can to and with our children.