STORY FROM A MOM
I teach in a town where many parents take the train to and from NYC for work, and train-watching is a favorite pastime for some toddlers. A mom of an one-and-a-half-year-old took her daughter to pick up daddy from the train for the first time, and while they were waiting the mom sang, “Train is a-comin’, oh yeah…” Once the train arrived and daddy walked off the train, something must have clicked for the daughter about the meaning of that song. Now, whenever the mom sings “Train is a-Comin’,” the little girl chimes in, “Oh, yeah!” The music gives her way to express the emotion she felt seeing her daddy come off the train in a way that she’s not yet able to with language. (My 9-year-old can say, “Oh, I love to meet daddy at the train because I’ve missed him so much and seeing him walk down the platform is so exciting I just want to jump up and down,” but that’s a bit beyond the scope of a toddler!) Whether excitement, or frustration, or anger, or sadness, music is an excellent tool to help a child with developing language process and communicate emotions.
And so now, whenever I’m stopped at a train crossing in town, instead of feeling impatient I find myself singing, “Oh, yeah!” Look at that, music helps even the verbally-developed with emotions, too!