Some children find it difficult to express how they’re feeling – mostly because they don’t know the name of the feeling they’re experiencing. Instead, they might show it by crying, throwing a tantrum or having a meltdown!
The good news is that young children can be taught basic emotions such as happy, mad, sad, and scared as early as two years old and more as they get older. How?
Adding music into your keiki’s routine is one of the most constructive ways to help them express who they are and what they’re feeling. Here are some of our favorite tips and techniques:
- A Music and Feelings lesson plan can encourage children to recognize and talk about different feelings and emotions through a variety of fun musical activities.
- Music can help children to ‘hear’ what certain feelings sound like, and they can learn to tell what emotion is evoked by a piece of music.
- Music can help a child get in touch with and express a feeling they may be experiencing such as happy, sad, scared, or mad.
- Musical instruments can be channels for emotions and playing them allows those emotions to come through.
- Self-expression springs from a sense of self and music can help immensely with this.
Music can give children a way to express themselves, unleash their creativity, inspire and uplift, relax and relieve stress and tension.
Making music with their peers can improve social and emotional skills as children learn to work together as a team and develop a sense of empathy. Researchers have found that when children play music together – from simple rhythms to larger group performances – they are better able to tune into other people’s emotions.
Music has been reported to evoke a full range of human emotion including:
- Happy or Sad – Music can lift a child’s mood, make them smile or laugh or feel sad and even make them cry.
- Energetic – Rhythms in music can make us move faster and aid physical exercise.
- Scared – Music can make children feel scared or tense, for example during a ‘dark’ moment in a movie.
- Calm – Certain music can help the mind slow down and initiate the relaxation response.
- Nostalgic – Music can remind children of the past, both good times and otherwise.
- Love – Music can be used to express love and as a sign of affection.
Most of all though, playing music makes people happy! There are few pleasures in this world that can be compared to music.