Music, Parenting, Waldorf Education

Singing Through the Day: How Jingles Help Mommy Juggle

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Amy Robbins-Wilson. Amy is a talented singer, author, and practitioner of mindful parenting.

Be sure to read through to the end for a special giveaway that Amy is offering!

Amy Robbins Wilson, Mommy Jingles

I’ve gotten to know Amy through our mutual association with Spindlewood Waldorf Kindergarten and LifeWays Center in Lincolnville, Maine, and Amy and I were both teachers this past summer at the northeast LifeWays training for childcare providers inspired by Waldorf education.

Oh, and Amy’s son Clayton happens to be one of the children who appears in the slideshow on the new Bella Luna Toys‘ homepage!

I invited Amy to share with us the interesting work she’s been up — finding a way to help mothers transform their days with children through song.

As a Waldorf early childhood teacher, I learned how effective singing can be in easing transitions, eliminating conflict, and how much joy and lightness it can bring to the days we share with the children. Amy has come up with a unique video course for parents who may not be accustomed to singing through the day, or those who think that they can’t sing (never true!), or don’t know any songs.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, Amy?

I am a singer, a storyteller, an author and artist.  I am the lucky wife of an amazing man who builds me up as we dream our way forward.  I am the blessed mother of a son who teaches me each day what it means to be fully present and full of joy.

What about your musical background? Can you tell us more?

I’ve always loved to sing and performed my first solo in preschool when I was three.  It was a song about mothers that I no longer remember but now seems like such an indicator of the future!  My life has been a journey of losing and finding my voice.  I actually stopped singing for about ten years to pursue “more serious matters” until I realized that music was an inescapable force in my life.  I studied music in high school and have performed professionally most of my life.

I received an M.A. in Ritual Song and Chant from the Irish World Music Center (now the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance) in Limerick, Ireland.  Once I became a mother, music became both a tool and a refuge for me.

You know that I’m a big fan of your book Transformational Mothering and your lullaby CDs, which I think offer a lovely calming and grounding experience to mothers of young children. What led you to create your latest project, “Mommy Jingles?”

I developed Mommy Jingles because I was looking for ways to connect to my newborn son, to teach him, to communicate with him and to keep my spirits up as I went through some serious baby blues.

Transformational Mothering

Clayton was born prematurely and his ears were so sensitive that he could not listen to a full lullaby for the first ten months.  He would burst out in tears when I sang which was a real ego deflater.  So I started out with humming and then made little jingles for our day that he could use as cues and markers and Mommy Jingles was born.

It was a revelation to me when he began to respond.  He knew that the getting in the car jingle meant we were getting in the car, he knew that the napping jingle was for napping.  It brought us even closer and I felt like such a great mother,  which was a rare feeling for me those first few months when I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit lost.  Mommy Jingles made our day fun and I realized just how brilliant even the smallest babies are.

Other moms started to ask me what I was doing and I shared songs with them. When I started to hear back from them about how Mommy Jingles helped, I was thrilled and decided to create our online course.  My passion is supporting mothers and this seemed a great way to do it.

Can you give us some ideas on how parents can use singing during challenging times of the day with young children. How can singing ease difficult transitions to, say, bedtime, or separating at daycare?

One of the important things my course does is to teach parents to use music as a cue for events.  When using music this way, the most important thing is consistency.  For example, at bedtime choose a series of lullabies or sayings that you only use at bedtime.  By doing this, it becomes a comforting and expected ritual at the end of the day.

One big challenge I experienced was helping Clayton transition to preschool.  I wrote “As I Go” for just this purpose.  You can learn the jingle and how to use it at:  http://www.lullaby-link.com/parting-lullaby.html.  I did the video as a parting for the night or naptime, but the illustrated motions can be used at the door of a sitter’s house or at school. The magic lies in being consistent.  It takes time to build the routine, but once built, it makes everything easier.

What would you say to a parent who thinks that she can’t sing, or considers himself tone deaf?

First, many of the Mommy Jingles are very simple and just a few words.

Everyone can hum or chant, and most people have better voices than they think. We live in a time of perfected sound when it seems only professionals are encouraged to share their voices and that is sad.  The world would be a poorer place without all of our voices.

My husband has been one of my best teachers in this area.  He would say that he does not sing but he does our family jingles and makes up hilarious chants that our son loves.  Music is not just about melody, it is also about rhythm, tone, the feel of your breath and your heartbeat.  Music is a full body experience and your child really does love your voice.

What led you to choose a Waldorf preschool for your son, Clayton?

It seems crazy now, but I had never heard about Waldorf schools until Clayton was two and a half.  I was searching for a center where he could interact with other children and that would give me time to work.

I found a home LifeWays center and just fell in love with it.  I loved the family atmosphere, the warmth, the natural toys and the way childhood was honored.  The caregiver and I talked about the importance of early childhood and she suggested that I look into a Waldorf kindergarten for Clayton.  We did and we are so grateful. The more I learn each year the deeper appreciation I have for the sacredness of childhood and the importance of those who surround our children.

Thanks for sharing with us, Amy. I love the way that you are using technology in a new and positive way to help support mothers of young children and to bring more music into families’ lives. Wishing you all the best with Mommy Jingles!

FREE MOMMY JINGLES GIVEAWAY

Amy has generously offered to give away a free Mommy Jingles course to one lucky reader.  There are two simple steps to enter:

1.  Go to www.amyrobbinswilson.com and sign up for Amy’s free musical downloads and a free report on the importance of music in childhood, then leave a comment about her work here.

2.  Either tweet or post this page on Facebook using the buttons above.

One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, December 10 at 8:00 a.m. EST. Good luck! Comments now closed.

Congratulations to winner Jennifer Saleem who wrote:

“Thank you so very much for linking up with Mommy Jingles and offering this AMAZING giveaway!”

MOMMY JINGLES COUPON

For more information on Mommy Jingles, visit MommyJingles.com.  You can save $100 on the course through December 31, 2010 by entering coupon code BL100.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Marina December 7, 2010 at 12:29 am

    I love it! I really want to try incorporating more singing into our day, this would be perfect!!!! Thanks!!!

  • Reply kendra December 7, 2010 at 12:36 am

    i love learning new songs for seasonal changes and for specific tasks! i end up using ‘here we go round the mulberry bush’ a lot! thanks for the generous giveaway and the song downloads!

  • Reply Jo December 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Great ideas! Would love to win!

  • Reply Sarah C December 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Wonderful stuff. I’m really looking forward to using these, and the ideas behind them. I think that my 2y9m DS would really respond well to this.

    Thank you.

  • Reply Kellie December 7, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I would love to win this prize as I am always looking for new things to sing to my 16 month old daughter! I know i don’t have the nicest voice but I am assured she loves my singing as whenever I start a song she immediately smiles and starts to do the actions to it – this makes me want to squeeze and kiss her xo

  • Reply Jesse December 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you! I would love to learn and share this with my children.

  • Reply Eva December 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    What an interesting concept! Wish I had know about this earlier – seems so comforting. Thank you for a great interview :)

  • Reply Leah December 8, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I can’t think of a better way to help my son make transitions throughout the day. However, I am totally tone deaf and rather unimaginative. I look forward to reading her website and emails for help getting started. Thank you

  • Reply Jennifer Saleem December 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you so very much for linking up with Mommy Jingles and offering this AMAZING giveaway! You have no idea how much I needed this resource. I have been experiencing a very painful medical issue for the past 5 weeks and I feel as though my entire rhythm and routine with my toddler has gone completely by the wayside. I’m doing the best I can as SAHM in lots of physical pain and once I am better I need to get us back on track. I was just delving into “singing through the day” before my medical issue and I could see what a positive impact it had on guiding my daughter through our day. Amy’s work is much needed for us moms who struggle to come up with catchy transition songs as well as those of us who need more support from our spouse when it comes to the “singing way of parenting.” Thank you Amy for your work on this! I cannot wait to share your website with my friends! It would be a HUGE blessing to win this giveaway. I cannot even tell you how much I would appreciate it. Thank you Sarah for hosting this!

  • Reply Jennifer Saleem December 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I linked this onto my Facebook page! :)

  • Reply Deven December 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I would so love to win this as a gift for my sister! She’s expecting her third child in June and this would be the prefect gift!

    • Reply Deven December 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      I forgot to say that I signed up at Amy’s page & linked in on my facebook.

  • Reply Lisa December 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    This is a lovely and helpful resource. It is great to learn about Amy and her Cds and work. Thank you Sarah and Amy.

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