How Simple Sounds Trigger Happy Transitions

Do you ever find it difficult to get a child’s attention when he is in deep play?

It’s tempting to breakthrough by increasing the voice volume. For an even more effective attention-grabber, try using one of these two powerful sound techniques:

  • Sounds Cues
  • Call and Response

Sound Cues 

Use a special sound for each type of routine activity. The sound announces that it is time to clean up, go outside or have a snack.

For example, teach your children that when they hear a certain drum beat, it is time to pick up toys. Or, play a few notes on a recorder to signal that it is time to stop what they are doing and look at you.

Using sounds and instead of words breaks up the monotony of hearing the same phrases or instructions every day. It also saves you from raising your voice or repeating a shushing sound that, as all educators know, easily become “white noise” to children.

Call and Response 

When you need to signal the beginning or ending of an activity, create a musical game that children can play with you. Invite children to join you as you repeat a chant or clap a rhythm. Try clapping as a call and response.

For example, teach children at the beginning of the year that when they hear you clap 3 times (or any other rhythm) they will stop what they are doing and clap 3 times back to you. Continue to clap until all children are participating. You can also clap the syllables to a question prompt, such as (clapping 5 times), “Are you lis-ten-ing?” Children respond (clapping 3 times), “Yes, I am.” Repeat the clap and chant in a softer voice each time until the room is quiet.

The call and response will engage children and capture their attention.


Sounds for Security:

As adults, we sometimes forget how much children love repetition. Repeating the same predictable sound or chant  each day helps them develop self-confidence surrounding that routine. Children like to know what is coming next. Sound or musical triggers can give children a sense of security and reassure them about what to expect within the daily schedule.

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