How a simple Hello Song fosters Social-Emotional Development in babies & toddlers
The Hello Song is such an important part of our Kindermusik classes. We are often told by parents and caregivers that it is a child’s favorite song, and here’s why: it signals to your child that you are about to spend time together, 100% focused on each other. Quality one-on-one time of learning and exploring, singing, dancing, playing instruments and making connections together. We see this same excitement in virtual classes and in-person classes, because the adult-child connection is still present and the most important part of class. Recently I’ve been observing how the hello song can help build social emotional skills such as empathy, respect, and self-confidence.
According to Zero to Three:
"Starting from birth, babies are learning who they are by how they are treated. Through everyday interactions, parents, relatives and caregivers send babies messages like: You’re clever. You’re good at figuring things out. You’re loved. You make me laugh. I enjoy being with you. These messages shape a baby’s self-esteem.
Toddlers are starting to develop a sense of self-awareness—that they are separate and independent from others. This new knowledge helps them understand that other people have thoughts and feelings that may be different from their own."
What does this mean for your child
What’s in a name? In the baby and toddler classes, including the child’s name is an important part of the hello song. As Dale Carnegie once said: “Remember that a person's name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Babies learn to recognize their own names during the hello song, and we see their face light up when they hear their name inserted into the song. It’s magical! Toddlers look forward to their turn each week, both to hear their name and to share their greeting idea. Older preschool-aged children are trying to blend in and be part of the group, so in that class, each child chooses a motion for the hello song, but their name is not sung. Everything in a Kindermusik class is intentionally done to support your child at each stage of their development.
Set your child up for success: With a baby, observe what he or she is doing, even if it is unintentional. Does he look like he’s trying to wave? Is she trying to clap? Does he always laugh when we lift arms and say “so big!”? Choose one of those as their hello motion. Give toddlers TWO choices, instead of “what do you want to do?” Open-ended questions are difficult for a toddler and you may get an answer of “go to the park.” Instead, try “would you like to clap, or jump for your hello motion?” It often helps to talk about it and choose one before class, so your child is ready and confident when their turn comes. Preschoolers will often choose a complicated motion, such as a compound movement (spin-jump) or something related to pretend play (fly and swoop like glittery dinosaurs)...just go with it! Remember that the idea is to try something new and respect all ideas. Also, if you’ve never flown and swooped like a glittery dinosaur, you are in for a treat ;)
If you’d like to learn more about how you can support your child’s social-emotional learning, check out this article.
Kindermusik classes, whether virtual or in-person, are a great way to start building your child’s emotional intelligence, self-esteem, and empathy.
Jessica Solares is one of the founders of Bucktown Music, along with her husband Luis. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Elmhurst College, and is a licensed Kindermusik educator with Top Program distinction.