As parents, we all know that music is beneficial for our children. Numerous studies show links between music and cognitive function particularly in a developing brain and we intuitively know that music has a therapeutic effect on our hearts and our souls. So we know that we should be incorporating music and movement into our developmental stimulation strategy for raising our babies and toddlers….but when? and how? Enter Wriggle and Rhyme Music and Movement Classes!
With my first child, I was obsessed with his developmental stimulation. I signed him up for many different classes, we played with toys and puzzles constantly at home and there was often a music CD or DVD playing in the background. With my second boy, life revolved more around the first boy’s schedule and routine. Music happened in the car on lifting trips and there was less intentional 1-on-1 stimulation. At around 18 months, I joined a music class with him mostly to give him and I some quality time without his older brother and it became a treasured hour in our week. There is the social component of meeting other moms and nannies and grandmothers from your area but my favorite aspect is observing the progress week to week as they sing the same songs but respond more and more each time.
Then Nate came along and I was just in survival mode. The poor little thing (or very lucky little thing) got educated by the life happening around him and still learns most things from his older brothers. Rourke (our fourth boy) turned 1 a few months ago and I have been craving some memory-making moments for the two of us so when I got invited to a Wriggle and Rhyme class in Claremont I jumped at the opportunity.
Liza hosts the Wriggle and Rhyme class in her own home which makes the ambience very relaxed. This past term the theme has been the Farmyard and so working through the same CD of songs each week, she leads us on a narrative journey to a farm where we meet all the different animals, sing songs, move to the music and the babies explore different musical instruments or textured toys. Liza is warm and incredibly loving to each of the children, she has a beautiful voice and the babies will often just sit listening to her as she sings along to the music. She is also particularly patient (eg. when my Rourke fiddles with the magnetic bus and keeps trying to open the toy boxes at inappropriate moments)… After the 30 minute class most moms will have tea together and chat while the kids play.
There are Wriggle and Rhyme branches across the Western Cape and the classes include the Wrigglers class (6-18months) a Rhymers class (18 months – 3 years) and a Pre-Schoolers (2-6 years) class offered in selected schools. They also sell great CD’s for you to use in the home or car with your little one. For more information on the classes on offer visit Wriggle and Rhyme website.
For Rourke, Wriggle and Rhyme is the perfect Friday morning activity – friends, animals, music and his favorite of course, the bubbles at the end. I now use this as a tactic when I need 10 minutes at home – I get one of his older brothers to walk around the garden blowing bubbles and he follows them popping him. Mid-morning 09h30 to 10h30 is just enough time for him to love the stimulation but leave exhausted and we usually rush home for his tea and his nap. Some weeks I get the tunes stuck in my mind and find myself singing them around the house and Rourke will pop his head out from wherever he is and just smile at me sheepishly.
I would definitely encourage all our Online Antenatal Class members to do something like this at some stage with your baby or toddler. For a first-time mom, it can be an hour of sanity and community and for the second-, third- or fourth- time mom, it can be a way of slowing your day down to enjoy time with your precious child.