For those times when you're bored but don't feel like inventing a game; for when you need a quick entertaining method for your kids, but don't want to turn the TV on. Or simply, when you just want to have fun together, and maybe discover new sounds and learn a foreign word.. This (non) exhaustive list of children songs is for you! More than 40 amongst our favourite songs - in English, Italian, French and German. Some are well-known, others may surprise you.. It's time to sing and dance!
English Children songs
You probably know Raffi already.. Although he was a recent discovery for me! And have you already been on a bear hunt with your child? Or met an alligator waiting for the elevator?!
I'll start with Raffi's children songs, if you don't mind! I love the values he shares, he imaginary world some of his songs depict.. and the music itself.
You come back home, tired from work, and all you can think of is sinking into your bed with a good book. You ask your 3 year-old-son to wash his hands before sitting at the table. What an outrageous request! "If you do not wash them, I'll wash them!" He's screaming, you're screaming. How can you handle such crises? How can you calm down and help your children control the storm of emotions? Let's see 10 ways to calm down - for the whole family!
What could have triggered the crisis?
One morning like many others. "Mom, are we going to school today?" My little one asks me first thing once his eyes are opened. The angry look leaves no doubt: I want to stay at home!
Fortunately, we can take the luxury of having breakfast together before realizing it's late and we're all in our pajamas.
One way or another, we manage to get to the front door with the right clothes and enough time to go to school and office on schedule.
Mom, I want to take my bike !
My whole body gets ready for a fight or flight reaction.
Honey, you have to practice a little bit before, it's better if you come with me on the child seat for the moment. Tomorrow, if we can get out a little earlier, we can take your bike ok ?
Obviously, the stubborn and definitive answer is NO.
After a few attempts, I had to take him and put him on his seat...
Screams and desperate cries, scratches, kicks .. The ultimate crisis.
The one where you must be able to calm down before you can calm your kid .. not easy when your child's pulling your hair as if he wanted to shave you bold.
You may avoid conflict, and measure your words to please others. Or the other way around: nothing better than a good and healthy fight! Maybe you're sick of all the fighting between your children; you've had enough of having to mediate on who gets the plastic glass with the blue stickers. How can you learn to manage an argument in a positive way? How can you help your kids solve a conflict without the yelling and the crying? Let's take a look here at some very useful strategies for all ages!
A regular fight
We're finally home, a quiet afternoon. While I'm putting our groceries away, I see my daughter throwing a delicate rose blanket and a pillow on the hallway's floor.
She plays for a few minutes on her improvised bed, and then she goes to her room.
Her brother, who was busy pulling a lighted turtle, silently takes his sister's place. He makes a cocoon with the blanket, holding his Teddy Bear.
Ah! Ain't it great when the kids learn how to play on their own and I can take the time that I need around the house?
I should have known better. It's called Murphy's Law. My daughter gets out of her room. Pay attention as the scene unfolds fast:
She stops, seeing her brother on the blanket. Then regains her posture, runs to him and hits him.
I had it first!
She pulls the blanket, but as her brother is on it she can't take it away. She pushes him hard until he falls off. They start pulling each others' hair, until my daughter finally can get a full hold on the blanket. Only to be called to order by
Her brother's desperate crying;
her mother's stop.
He started it Mom! I put so much effort to get everything done and he ruined everything!
Do you or your partner come from a different country? Or maybe, you've always had a hard time learning a new language in school; you love traveling, and you wish your kid could do better? Are you wondering whether to raise a bilingual child, but you don't know if it's a good idea, and where to start from? When our kids were born, we were living in France. We would only speak Italian at home. And I started worrying: is my child going to have problems because of this? Will she still integrate easily? I discovered, many parents ask the same questions.. Let's look at myths, truths and tips about why you should raise a bilingual child.
#1.Should you raise a bilingual child? It will allow your kid to speak to more people
Most of our closest relatives only speak Italian. In the city we currently live in, most people only speak French. So there was no other option : other children had to learn both.
Of course, if your spouse's family comes from a different country, and you really want to avoid any relationship, than you shouldn't raise a bilingual child. Forget everything about their language, their origins, their culinary tastes. They'll probably hate you forever, and you'll be sure never to see them again.
Or else: if you want your child to stay glued at your side for years to come, forever afraid of leaving the country for fear of not understanding all those weird people making those nasty sounds, than please don't ever let your child hear anything else other than your language. No traveling, no music, no foreign movies. What's outside your country, anyway?
Jealousy is a complex feeling, have you ever thought about it? Try to think about the last time you were jealous. Were you able to recognize the symptoms and rationalize them? Could you express those feelings in a balanced way? It's not that obvious, is it? Well, now you can imagine how hard it can be for your jealous toddler to welcome a new little brother or sister, and learn how to become "the big one". Jealousy : Instructions for use ! (And I recommend: Handle with care!)
Thesaurus defines jealousy as a "mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims."
I think it's important to keep that in mind if we want to understand our child better! (Remember, empathy is the key to everything in a relationships).
Just as handwriting gives a first psychological insight about a person, and is used by many companies in the recruitment phase, even our children's drawings and scribbles can tell many things about them.. Do you know what to look at when your children show you their works? Here are some key points to consider when you interpret children's drawings!
Why interpreting children's drawings
When we announced to the children that we would come back to France, and explained the consequences this would have for them, my daughter started drawing houses.
They were beautiful, cheerful drawings; but it struck me that the subject's choice had suddenly become "monotonous and repetitive" - while before she would mostly draw people, whether it was us or the princesses she liked so much.
Have you ever noticed any weird detail in your children's drawings, and wondered what they meant?
For example, take the drawing below : isn't it .. Say peculiar ?
I wanted to investigate.. And I asked an elementary school teacher to give me some clarification.
Mothers light up when they have to talk about their offspring and related joys and sorrows.. But what do men think about becoming a dad? Behind their silence, do they really hide a true hassle for such feminine occupation, or maybe ... ? Is it really that hard for them? If you are a dad, from the "not yet but maybe a day" level to the"Yes several times" one, then this interview is for you. If you're a mom, here's a point of view that could explain many things..
Becoming a dad - the first time
Becoming a dad the first time was.. Well, there was the novelty effect, it was all very exciting. I really enjoyed attending the prenatal classes, and paying attention to the reactions and questions of the other couples; feeling that atmosphere of preoccupied excitement.
Then childbirth.. Watching as your child comes to the world is an indescribable thrill, and at the same time it feels like a normal thing in life. An extraordinarily natural phenomenon.
I am glad to have witnessed and seen everything; that's something you don't want to miss.
Those first days you're as suspended in a time that has stopped; with such a tiny baby, that's yours, you can't just stay indifferent, regardless of how much you're a rational, thick-skinned guy.
Renown fact: nothing sweeter than the smile of a child, right? If you often spend time with a kid, you'll also be familiar with that feeling of light warmth that fills your cheeks when a child, whatever the age, smiles at you. It just gives a sense of pride, as if we had accomplished the day's mission right? And if it's your child, what an even nobler mission, than to make him happy? We often identify "making a child happy" by buying her something new, or letting her win a battle... But in the long run, are those the things that can make children smile from within? What are the little gestures that will change their day (and the people around you as well) ?
Is it easy to make children smile ?
When we come home from school, it's usually quite late. In the course of the day, I pile up a long to-do list to finish. You know, the classics : put the groceries away, take care of the laundry, and so on.
And inevitably, as soon as my kids notice that I'm starting with any of these, they come up with a very tender request, like: "Mom please, I really want to do some painting, can we do it together?" Sweet eyes and innocent look.
And I picture myself pulling out the equipment, drying the colors, chasing my little one before he repaints the white hallway's walls with his hands, and then wash all the taps .. And I often say no, looking for anything that could distract their attention.
"Mama, can you read me a story?" While I'm still wearing my coat, the phone shows 45 unread messages, it's almost time for dinner and the table is still set with breakfast.
You know what? Now, if I had to say the most beautiful smile I can think of on my children's face, it's when, unlike my usual refusal, I once happened to say, "Okay."
I forgot about the messages, the frozen food in the shopping bags, the dinner to be prepared; accepting that it would then be late, that there would be consequences.
We sat right in the middle of the hallway, and we read the whole story. I made my son so happy at the time, just by accepting the imperfection of everything else.
What are the little things we can think of to make our children smile and happy?
Stressed and worried, I've been sleeping poorly lately. I'm struggling to get my energies back, especially at night. I just would like to be left alone. But I have children who are also stressed and preoccupied. Their magic wand? Well.. Mom!
We have to get out. We're late.. My brain is lost on these circular thoughts.
Stop it! Are you getting dressed? Go brush your teeth! But what makes you think that you can jump on the bed?! Stop it, I said! 1, 2, 3 you stop now!
I look at my watch. We're late, one more time. Can you believe it! I've been waking you up earlier every day, and we're late anyways !
I feel all my helplessness and my frustration mount. Except, of course, that it doesn't make my kids move any faster.
When we finally get to the elevator, I take a deep breath. I look at my half-asleep children, their eyes full of a mix of sadness and fatigue.
My motherly tenderness replaces the Panic of infinite delay, and behold, I feel guilt rise. Why do I end up screaming like that? I know it doesn't work. And yet I have tried everything!
How can you make your children listen? What's wrong with the way I communicate?
Do you know when every silly and simple request during the day transforms into a screaming struggle? That's how life with strong-willed children can be. I hadn't even known there was a definition for it. "Parenting the strong-willed child. What do I do now? Is it a condition? Is it curable? Isn't it just normal that my child wishes to impose her will and can't yet control her emotional reactions? Or are we having misleading expectations? From strategy to understanding, your problem may become a life-changing gift.
Persistence vs Strong will
Having a strong will was something I've always believed and being told to have. To me, it meant that if I had an objective, something I really cared for, I was ready to fight, wait, and fight again despite the obstacles. Like, nothing can stop me, right?
Then one day, I have this creature in my arms. I smile, she smiles. And then little things, like me holding the spoon instead of letting her do it, or choosing which dress to wear, would ignite a fire.
She was, what, 14 months? She couldn't even talk yet. But she wanted to decide what clothes she should wear. What books we should look at. What and how much food to eat.
I was amazed at the fierce response whenever I tried to impose my own decision. I mean, I'm you mother ! I'll show you who's in control...
Mine was called persistence (or stubbornness!). One where despite my capability of never letting go, I still needed to be liked and loved by everybody.
Where I struggled with the food I ate, the looks I got, and I was so worried about other people's opinions that for such a long time I forgot to check on what I wanted and needed. How can I win with a toddler who already knows all this?! And mostly - should I try to change her?
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