I Love You Rituals

We try to include an “I Love You Ritual” in EVERY Little Learner’s Kindermusik class. These are the brain-child of Dr. Becky Bailey of Conscious Discipline.

Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based and trauma informed practice of social emotional learning. It utilizes every-day activities to teach adults and children emotional intelligence and self-regulation.

One of the basic tenets of Conscious Discipline is that connection must come before correction. Additionally, Conscious Discipline teaches that connection breeds cooperation.

CONNECTION is one of Song of the Heart Studio’s values, and you will find it up on our walls, we believe in it so much! It is one of the foundational pillars of all we do in our studio and try to promote in every class.

I Love You Rituals are simply a tool that develops that connection between you and your little one. In order for the ritual to work and truly develop and nurture connection you need certain elements:

  1. Presence
  2. Eye contact
  3. Safe, intentional touch
  4. Playfulness


Any short song or game can become an I Love You Ritual when used consistently, with these elements at play. We’ve been using “On your face you have a nose, and way down here you have 10 toes!” In past years we’ve used “Twinkle twinkle, little star, what a wonderful child you are!” You might be familiar with “This little piggy went to market” which could be used similarly.

When you engage in just 5 minutes of connected play with your child each day, you can decrease power struggles and increase cooperation by up to 50%! That is a HUGE return on investment.

This is partly achieved by how the ritual hacks your brain chemistry by promoting the natural production of what we call “Joy Juice”, a hormonal cocktail of serotonin, dopamine, and other feel-good hormones.

Enjoy this short video from Conscious Discipline and learn more about the power and purpose of this simple routine.


Welcome Back

Happy New Year to all our music friends! We hope you rang in the new year with loved ones and celebrated in whatever way brings you joy. Whether you stay up late and count down until midnight, or you tuck in early to get a good night’s sleep.

Now that we’ve had two weeks off of our normal lives and routines we all feel a little off-kilter. Our routines ground us. Our routines give our children a sense of security and predictability. When those routines go out the window and are replaced with vacation, holidays, visits, celebrations, or parties, we all feel a little out of equilibrium.

Have you noticed your children are more irritable than usual? Are they more prone to tantrums lately? It’s likely because their routines have been disrupted. So this week as you get back into the swing of your regularly scheduled lives, we encourage you to re-establish your children’s routines as well. Bring back that security and sense of normalcy for them and you’ll see them slip back into normal behavior patterns.

That is if you can consider any child’s behavior patterns normal. It seems like just when we get a grip on whatever development changes our children experience they are changing again and we are back to figuring out how to manage them. So keep those rituals and routines you have in your family rock-solid.

Sing that bedtime/bath time/diaper time song together. Pull out the I Love You Ritual that you learned in your Kindermusik class. Slow down for a minute and CONNECT with your little one. Engage in some intentional touch, be fully present, make eye contact with them, and enjoy a little playfulness. It will boost those feel-good hormones for both you and your child and ground you, ready for what comes your way next.

From the HEART of our studio and our JOY team we wish you the happiest of New Years as we get through this winter together. See you soon!

Parents are Partners

One of the most important aspects of the Kindermusik experience is the opportunity we provide you to truly partner with your child. It is absolutely critical that you spend the time you have together in class each week to be fully present with them. Developing a habit of connecting with them will pay huge dividends in your relationship at home, and what better place to make that time investment than at Song of the Heart Studios where we prime their brains and bodies for learning and connection?

Dr. Becky Bailey of Conscious Discipline teaches us that we must focus on our inner state before we can control our behavior. The same is true for children. They must be in an inner state of calm and security before they can learn, comply, or make sense of the world around them. The ability to self-regulate and manage our emotions and inner state requires TWO people. For adults, those two people are YOU and YOU. Your INNER VOICE is what regulates your INNER STATE.

Children have no inner voice to help them self-regulate. And yet two decades of research has shown that self-regulation is more critical to a child’s future happiness and success than early academic achievement. A child’s ability to self-regulate is more important than early reading, writing, or math skills. The average child does not develop inner-speech until around 6 years of age. Some girls may develop it as early as 4, and some boys may delay until 9!

So how can children manage their emotions and self-regulate if they have no inner-voice?

They can’t.

That’s why they need YOU. Remember that it takes TWO to self-regulate? THIS is why we partner with our children. This is why we focus on connection so much. This is why children crave and need your attention. It is through your guidance and example that they can learn to calm their inner state and to manage their emotions.

Every Kindermusik lesson has a moment or many for you to connect with your child. Our Foundations through Level 2 classes are non-stop parent-child partner joy-fests. Our Level 3-5 classes are focused on more musical training and less parent partnering, but even in those classes you are given a few moments at the end to join in with your child and partner with them. Make the most of our structured sharing time! And remember that you always have access to the at-home materials online that you can utilize to partner with your child.

Remember you are your child’s PARTNER as well as their parent. Partner up in class. Partner up at home. Partner with them whenever they need help navigating their overwhelming emotions. Use those I Love You Rituals, or a favorite fingerplay or lap bounce from Kindermusik, or your own special family brand rituals. And as always, remember that connection builds cooperation and promotes JOY.

I Love You Rituals

The last two weeks we have started incorporating I Love You Rituals in our classes. We LOVE these rituals as they perfectly align with Kindermusik’s child-development centered curriculum and our mission here at Song of the Heart Studios.

Not only do I Love You Rituals promote our studio values of JOY, CONNECTION, FAMILY, GROWTH, and HEART, but they have a direct and literal impact on your child’s brain development. Research based, these simple rituals soothe cortisol and release oxytocin in the brain. Without getting into the neurochemistry of it all, what this means is that these simple, quick, and fun rituals are a tool that will bond you with your child, will increase their self esteem, lengthen their attention span, promote cooperation, decrease power struggles, reduce hyperactivity, and facilitate language development.

Can you believe that all those benefits can come from such a simple ritual? It takes less than a minute to do, and can reap huge rewards.

We have been teaching the Twinkle Twinkle ritual in our classes in the hopes that it will inspire you to implement it at home. Here are some ideas of when to throw it into your daily routines:

  • In the morning, upon waking up
  • On the diapering table
  • During nap time and/or
    bedtime routines
  • When getting in or out of the carseat
  • Before or after meals
  • When saying goodbye

These delightful rituals were designed by Dr. Becky Bailey, renowned child education and developmental psychology expert, and founder of Conscious Discipline.

Please let us know how you incorporate I Love You Rituals into your family life. What benefits have you experienced?

Tickles and Hugs

Tickles and Hugs

“Touch is the only sense we cannot live without. You child could be blind and be fine, she could be deaf and be okay, but without touching and being touched, a child will die.” —  I Love You Rituals, Becky Bailey, Ph.D., pg. 10
The other day my son asked me which of my five senses I would give up if I needed. I told him that although it would be sad (more than sad) if I couldn’t hear him or his sisters again, or if I couldn’t see their faces as they grew older (and life without chocolate might be unbearable!) I certainly would retain my sense of touch. I want to be able to nurture my children through touch, and I definitely want to be loved and held myself. Nothing soothes my soul like a hug from one of my kids.
Researchers have looked extensively at the devastating consequences of non-touch, especially at the deprivation that occurred in the Romanian orphanages. This Scientific American article points out that skin-to-skin contact with babies calms them and helps them sleep better (who doesn’t want a baby to sleep better?) and helps mom’s own levels of stress and depression.
Of course, if I had read this as a new mom I would have an increase in my stress levels, wondering if I was holding my baby girl enough. Sometimes she didn’t sleep well at night—was I doing everything “right?”
Now, I read that advice and I notice all the times during the day that I DO hug my kids, or snuggle with them while we read on the couch. And I think to myself, “My preschooler may be upset today, but it’s NOT because I didn’t touch her enough—it’s got nothing to do with me and I’m doing my best here. And just think how upset she might be if I HADN’T hugged her?”
Having an 11-year-old daughter, I know it isn’t always easy to give her a hug (especially when she really needs it—that’s when she’s at her most resistant to me). Still, I try to look beyond the moments that she squirms away from my hugs and instead find the times when I can put my arm across her shoulders or brush her arm gently to wake her up in the morning.
You may have noticed that in the green studio we have some words on the wall. From time to time when I’m snuggling with my son during class I look up and see the word “touch.” I’m reminded that this is the gift of Kindermusik—it gives me a chance during the day to focus exclusively on my son, to hug him and let him know that I see him and I value him. If there are more important things to give my son, I’m not sure I’ve found them yet.
One of the rituals we do in some of Kindermusik classes is called “Round and Round the Haystack.” It’s a great way to entertain the kids while you’re waiting for the oil to get changed or while standing in line at the grocery store, as well as engage in some playful touch.
Round and round the haystack goes the little mare (draw circles on your child’s hand/knee/shoulder, etc.) with your index finger
One step, two steps (walk your fingers up the child’s arm/leg/back, heading for a ticklish spot)
Tickle you under there! (Give a gentle tickle under the child’s arm)
(Also found in I Love You Rituals, pg. 111)
Do you have a favorite snuggling ritual with your child? What are some of the ways you engage with your kids in some playful touch? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!