Some years ago, it dawned on me that I have not one memory of my mother ever saying "I can't sing." She definitely never said that to me or to anyone else. But I more importantly I noticed that she never said it about herself. She also never said that she could-
She just sang.
This dawned on me in my adult life and made me wonder what impact that had. I'll never really know. But I do know this- kids listen. In the words of Peggy O'Mara,
"Watch what you say- the way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice."
So when it comes to matters of singing, I want to suggest that you simply don't judge singing at all- theirs or yours, as bad or good. If you feel inclined to say something, share how singing makes you feel. Or tell them you love singing with them. And if "I can't sing" accidentally pops out, just catch yourself and shift into an alternative habit of thought. Most importantly-
It's a million times good for your body and soul. And because we are celebrating mamas day, the featured MP3 is a song that was dedicated to and inspired by my mother, as well as a few other women in my life. To you, and to my Play Music mamas, Happy (day-after) Mother's Day. And to my mum- thank you. You have one of the sweetest voices I know.
Music will not help every person fall sleep.
Some music and/or sounds cause some people (like me) increased alertness or even anxiety when aiming for dreamland. So observe your child's reaction to auditory stimulation while they are sleeping or falling asleep.
The problem is knowing which of the hundred options you should go for. Here are five tips you need to know when buying or downloading music for Zzzzz's.
1/ SEARCH using keywords "ambient music" or "arrhythmic music." This means that the music will have no pulse, creating an enveloping sound with an ocean-like soothing effect. (Be aware of generic "Songs for Sleeping" albums which are often rhythmic and upbeat with melodies that actually activate brainwaves.)
2/ LONG TRACKS 20-30 minutes in length will prevent a break in the sonic atmosphere, creating continuity for an uninterrupted sleep cycle.
3/ YOUR VOICE can provide significantly more comfort than recorded music. Children's response to live music is different from recorded music. Babies are particularly responsive when the music comes directly from the parent. Singing along with a parent is for the development of reciprocal communication.  So before you hit play, hummmm and sing away for a few minutes. Their ears are your best audience.
4/ LISTEN through the entire track or album that you intend on playing. What another composer considers to be 'calming' may not be for your child. Sudden changes in volume, tempo, or sounds can be quite alarming and cause distressful sleep. So give it a spin. If something catches your attention, that is a red flag that it will likely do the same for your kiddo. If you fall asleep, well then . . .
5/ DOWNLOAD the mp3 below. There are 2 free tracks available, including an instrumental version (no vocals, as heard on the "Born Curious" kids album) and an extended version that automatically repeats the instrumental song for a total of 26-minutes. These are only available through our blog. Woo-hoo!
Please comment if you have any sleep tips, tricks, or songs that have had the magic touch for you or your kiddo. I guarantee you extra karma points for this.
And if you can use an artisticly stunning addition to your bedtime book collection, the wildly talented Charlotte Zolotow illustrated the newest version of "When the Wind Stops," as pictured above. It is a beautiful story that humbly illustrates how every ending is really just another beginning.
Above image copyright "When the Windstops" by Charlotte Zolotow
 The Genius of Natural Childhood
When you sing, musical vibrations m o v e through you... like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer- the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.
Releasing endorphins and oxytocin enhance feelings of trust and bonding (great for kids) and relieve stress and anxiety (great for parents!).  Say what?? MUSIC IS GOOD FOR YOU. And song is a special type of speech, preparing children's brains for language. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry signature melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child's ear, voice and brain for language.  So Play Music made something for you to commemorate all this fantastic news-
Our first collection of songs! Kids Play Music, Volume One. It is currently available as a FREE download and features 10 of our popular tunes used in the Kids Play Music programs and events. Spin this album every week (or day) to deepen the bond with your child, and to divert potential toddler meltdowns. Here's how:
Over the years I've heard parents using the songs for many different divergent tactics, attention grabbing, and calming techniques. So there is plenty more milage to get out of these songs, and whatever works best for you is always the best route to go. Enjoy the music, and stay young.
1 Time Magazine / 2 The Genius of Natural Childhood
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Note from the Editor
Cheers from the other sunshine state. The kids call me Miss Sara, or Sara Dee. I am a globe-trotting Play Music and kids music ambassador. If you ask me how old I am, I will tell you- exactly one year younger than the last. I have a wicked penchant for music, guinea pigs, food, vintage, traveling, and instagram. This blog is here to share some of the (music) inspiration and happenings along the way. Glad you found your way here!