Singing is something I don’t do particularly well. I used to be in plays and musicals as a young buck. My 2nd grade performance of “You’re the Inspiration” by Chicago at our talent show was solid gold.
However, once I started sprouting a moustache and puberty hit, I went from sounding like Peter Cetera to Peter Brady on the infamous “Dough Re Mi” episode. I don’t have any plans to perform in public. I have strictly a “shower” or “driving in my car” or “karaoke dare” voice.
I have two daughters, age 4 and 3—and yes, I cringe thinking of wedding expenses someday. I continue to push the “boys are gross” ideology on them, hoping it will stick. So far, so good.
But my girls love to sing. They do it all day long. They sing while they take a bath. They sing while they wash their hands. They sing when my wife and I are engrossed in a suspense thriller on TV and we have to ask them to take their “talent” to a quieter level.
Singing is truly enjoyable with little ones—and it’s a great way to bond with them. The best songs are the made up songs. They make up songs that rhyme and songs about putting on your shoes and songs about eating crackers. My girls make up songs about nearly everything they do! Granted, a lot of those songs have the word “fart” in them, but I blame that on my wife and her teaching them the “Beans Beans the Magical Fruit” song.
The point is that singing with your kids is fun, funny and a memory maker. Music naturally brings out the fun and creative sides of dads and kids, and creates priceless moments together. And for kids, I believe it gives them incredible confidence. It helps them develop poise and courage.
So, when your kids sing, listen—intently. Smile at them. Clap for them. Show them that you are proud of them. Doing so gives them such a feeling of accomplishment and they can never get enough “atta boys” at a young age. This doesn’t mean that you should push them to audition for choirs or competitions or take it to that level of seriousness. It just means that singing should be encouraged.
And of course, make sure you get something on video or on tape. I have taken to filming my girls doing rock videos—lip synching and dancing to rock songs or giving their versions of today’s top 40 hits.
These kinds of memories are ones that will cure any bad day. And some day, when I am old and gray, I know I’ll miss having these little ones running in circles and singing at the top of their lungs. So, I try to make the most of these daily opportunities—and I record it so I can always hang on to that carefree time together.
And of course, I plan on showing these videos to each and every boy my daughters have a crush on when they get to be teenagers.
Ryan Zimmerman is married and the father of 2 girls, ages 4 and 3. He lives in Kansas City, where he is a Director of Marketing. Read more from him at iwasabadkid.com – a place for tips and tales for fathers to read and enjoy.