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Calming the Wild Beasts
Every day around 4:30pm, my kids turn into wild animals.  I'm not sure if it's because they are hungry for supper, missing their Daddy, or if they just know that I am busy getting supper ready and are bound and determined to get my attention at all costs.  I know my kids aren't the only ones; I've often heard this time referred to as the Witching Hour.  Whatever it is, I've started a music "activity" that helps curb the insanity.  I say "activity", because there isn't really anything to prepare or do, once the list is printed off.  It's super easy! 
One of the best parts of having children is watching them respond to music.  Eyes closed, face crunched in concentration, Yummy bops her head to the beat, whether it's my own rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or some awesome 80's guitar.  If Dooter hears any sort of rhythm -not just music, but also the dishwasher or a dripping tap, he immediately stops what he is doing to wiggle his shoulders, bend his knees, or shuffle in a slow circle with his head tipped to the side.  I hope they never lose that pure unconscious response! 
Music Appreciation
I want to instil an early appreciation of a wide genre of music in my children, and while we do play music a lot, I don't often consciously choose specific genres.  So I came up with a checklist of music genres that I happen to have and enjoy particularly, so that each day I would easily be able to pick the next genre in the list and put on something different for the kids to experience.  For the kids, I call it the Waiting for Daddy Songs.  Every day when supper is started and the kids are ready to melt down, I turn on a song according to my list.  Some days I continue cooking, if need be.  Other days we dance in the kitchen, or use the energy of the song to motivate us to tidy up the toys before supper.  Sometimes I deliberately choose a calming song, if tempers need to be tamed.  It is a simple thing to look forward to, and turns a usually crazy time into something fun.

Discovering Favourites
It has been fun to see what kind of music each child is partial to.  Dooter does his best dancing to techno or jazz.  Yummy seems to enjoy blues and rock the most.
Click on either photo below to print your own copy.
I've included my list, as well as a blank template for you to fill in, if you want to customize it with your own choices.  To keep track of where you are, you can laminate the list and check off with a dry-erase marker, or use a little colourful sticky note to mark the current selection.

P.S. I do realize that there are MANY more genres than the ones I've included, but I don't necessarily have all those genres in my iTunes library.  And of course, I make sure that the music I choose includes appropriate lyrics that I want my kids' little impressionable minds to be filled with.    



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