What’s “ON Your Face” and “IN Your Voice” Makes a Difference in Your Child’s Development!

Baby imitates facial expression!

Baby imitates facial expression!

Our babies learn about trust, relationships and the world through our playful interactions. They are quick to react to the parent’s playful voice, smiles, eye contact, and touch. Delightful interactions such as, using expressive language, smiling with eyes and lips, making sounds, looking where your child is pointing and joining in a “call and response” type of language are important to your child’s healthy development.  Providing this sensory stimulation and interaction is vital to the child’s development.  WeJoySing stives “to foster [this] adult-child interaction, therefore cultivating the artistry of parenting and strengthening the family unit.” (taken from WeJoySing’s Mission Statement.)



This is never more evident than in a study conducted by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard University called the Still Face  Mother Experience. “Babies, this young, are extremely responsive to the emotions, reactivity and social interaction that they get from the world around them.” Dr. Edward Tronick.  The experiment instructed the mother to play and interact with her child as normal. When given a cue, she is to turn away from the child. When she turns back to face the child, she is to keep her face completely still and not respond to her baby. The baby very quickly picks up on this change. The child smiles, points, vocalizes, uses hand movements and playful gestures to get the mother back.  Signs of frustration, irritation, crying and meltdown begin when the child is unable to engage the mother.  It is a joyous reunion when the mother receives a signal to resume normal interaction with the child. The baby settles back into the comfort zone and joyful play she and mother have developed.



The same reactions and outcomes were discovered when Project ABC at the Children’s Institute performed the experiment with fathers. “What we have learned over the years is babies are much more capable than we initially imagined but they’re also much more vulnerable.”  Richard Cohen, Ph.D.

“We discovered how able the child is to initiate and be part of the relationship with the parent, and how much she depends on that healthy relationship in order to keep an even keel. And when she is grounded and comfortable, she can explore the world, try new things, and meet new people because there is a trust level there and she has that safe base she can always rely on." Dr. Richard Cohen.

It must also be noted that the voice and face to face experience is a crucial component. The mother and father were both physically present for the experiments, but their absence of facial expressions and vocal interaction caused the child distress.  Whereas the expressive speaking and facial interactions were joyfully absorbed by the young child.



Dr. John Feierabend, Ph.D., wrote, “If children experience expressive speaking, they will assimilate that skill.  If children are read to in an expressive voice, they will later read aloud and to themselves with appropriate expression.” Music and Movement for Infants and Toddlers: Naturally Wonder-full.

We know that initial adult responsiveness from caretakers are keys to the baby’s success as a child and an adult which is why we include joyful Bounces, Wiggles and Tickle experiences in all of our WeJoySing classes from infant through 1 year old. We want to bring the mother or father face to face…joy to joy…with their child to build this healthy secure sense of relationship.



Bouncing an infant or toddler provides an ideal experience of a steady beat over rhythmic speech for the very young child. These rhymes and songs often consist of delightful melodies and the young infant can experience the beat and the delight on the parent’s face as he/she share the experience together

Wiggling a young one’s fingers or toes from largest to smallest has inspired many rhymes that provide the child to experience the cadence of the rhyme while discovering that, “Hey! Those are MY TOES!!”

Tickles begin in a baby’s palm or on a belly and work up the baby’s arm or body, ending in a gentle delightful little tickle. The anticipation of the tickle at the end is the greatest joy!

Bond with your little one with a few of our favorite Bounces, Wiggles and Tickles shared below.
The benefits to you and your child are far-reaching…and such fun!
Here we go up up up
Lift baby over-head OR lay baby on floor
gently bring to seated position (support neck)
Here we go down down down Bring baby back to lap OR gently lower baby to lay back down
Here we go back and forth Rock baby forward and back OR with baby on floor,
gently rock side to side
And here we go round and round Roll baby’s arms or legs

Trot, trot to London, trot, trot to Dover
Outstretched legs, child facing parent
Watch out baby, or you might fall over. At end, tip child to the left

Trot, trot to London, trot, trot to Dover Outstretched legs, child facing parent
Watch out baby, or you might fall over. At end, tip child to the right

Trot, trot to London, trot, trot to Dover Outstretched legs, child facing parent
Watch out baby, or you might fall over. At end, tip child backward

Trot, trot to Boston, trot, trot to Lynn, Outstretched legs, child facing parent
Watch out, baby, or you might fall in! At end, open legs and let child ‘fall’ gently to the floor
Increase tempo each time

Big “A” Little “a”
Place baby on outstretched legs facing adult
Open baby’s arms wide, bring together
And bouncing B, bouncing B Bounce baby on kne
Cat’s in the cupboard, Clap hands on “Cat’s” and “cup”….
And you can’t see me! Cover baby’s eyes or your own eye
Peek-a-boo! Play peek-a-boo

This Little Baby Rocked the Cradle Rock child’s arms side to side
This little baby jumped on the bed Jump your fingers in child’s palm
This little baby crawled on the carpet Crawl your fingers on child’s arm
This little baby bumped his head Tap child’s head gently
This little baby played hide and seek… Cover your eyes with both hands
Where’s my little baby? Peek and cover eyes again
Oh, oh, peek! Oh, oh, peek! Peek and give baby big HUG!

Creepy Creepy Little Mousie
Slowly walk fingers up baby’s arm, leg or body
From the barnsey to the housie
Found some cheese and ate it upsie
Nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble. Nibble baby’s neck, chin, fingers, toes, etc.

Criss Cross Make large X on child’s back
Apple Sauce. Tape child’s shoulders twice
Spiders crawling up your spine! Walk fingers up child’s spine
Cool breeze, Blow lightly on child’s neck
Tight squeeze, Hug child
Now you’ve got the shivers! Tickle child

Joyfully Submitted,
Mrs. Kristi


My teddy loves holiday music too!

My teddy loves holiday music too!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Did you sing this phrase in your head? - If you did, it demonstrated the power of music in your life!!

Few things set the tone for Christmas and Hanukkah like holiday music. Music physically triggers happy emotions and brings back magical memories – the glow of candle lights, the smell of fresh cut pine and Grandma’s special cookies she only made at Christmas time. 

When I look at the traditions of my family, I see that music is the central theme to all of them:

·       Caroling to neighbors (dressed in Santa hats)

·       Singing “Silent Night” at the Christmas Eve Candle lighting service

make it a family affair…share music together!

make it a family affair…share music together!

·       Playing Christmas music in the background while frosting cookies

·       Spinning a dreidel and Singing “Dreidel Dreidel  Dreidel” 

·       Watching “Frosty the Snowman” (and singing along, of course!)

·       Going to the local performance of the Nutcracker Ballet

·       Teaching “Jingle Bells” to a new class of little ones at WeJoySing.
It’s not too late to add to your list of Holiday Musical Memories by enrolling in our HOLIDAY SESSION!!!

These traditions will never fade away, even as our families grow and change. Nostalgia is HUGE! Kids remember these special times fondly even as they are grown adults, and these memories are easily brought back by a simple song, because of the way the brain stores music: FOREVER!

I have my Bells…do you have yours?

I have my Bells…do you have yours?

Dr. Rhonda Freeman, a clinical neuropsychologist, says “Many of us associate [Holiday] music with childhood and a happy time of presents and traditions and all the specialness that happens around that time of year. When the brain makes these associations with something very positive and pleasurable, the rewards system is being activated [which triggers] a number of chemicals including dopamine.”

Traditional Holiday songs are powerful because they’re among the last remnants of what used to be common practice: the passing down of oral tradition.

So, what will you pass down to your children? What were your favorite Christmas, Hanukkah and Holiday traditions growing up? Will you continue to keep them alive? Grab some jingle bells, break out the Christmas, Hanukkah and Holiday music and make some new memories today! And remember, it isn’t too late to sign up for WeJoySing’s HOLIDAY SESSION to add to your Holiday Music Memories!!!

Happy Holidays!
Mrs. Julie

17 Month Old Re-Enacts WeJoySing at Home -AMAZING!!

“Bounce, Bounce, Bounce….STOP…SHHH,” directed little Elliott as she re-enacted her WeJoySing “Heart Strings” class at home. Mom grabbed her camera, captured these delightful memories and shared them with Mrs. Karen, Elliott’s WeJoySing teacher, and Mrs. Jo, WeJoySing’s President.  They were thrilled to see the tremendous amount of language development and sequencing of thought emerging during Elliott’s musical play.

The power of music during our play time with our children extends far beyond smiles, giggles and bonding. While the child is actively involved in the work of playing; his/her musical, mathematical, language, and emotional intelligences are all being ‘wired’ in the brain.

 Language Development:
*Elliott’s use of the ‘B’ sounds as she bounces teddy and her use of the ‘T’ sound while she taps her leg demonstrates her phonological awareness and approximations towards the words ‘bounce’ and ‘tap’!
*The rhythmic bouncing, stopping and shushing show Elliot’s sequencing skills which will assist her in future sentence construction as she gains more language skills.
* Bouncing an infant or toddler provides an ideal experience of steady beat. “The child must be rocked, patted, bounced to develop a feeling of the beat. Meter and beat are often used in early rhymes and favorite books which will assist in expanding language development.” (Music and Movement for Infants and Toddlers: Naturally Wonder-Full.  By John M. Feierabend, Ph.D.
*Elliot is clearly in the transitional stage of learning where she can now transfer to her teddy bear the things we once did to, for and with her! The class bouncing activities have been internalized by Elliott and she can now ‘do it herself’!

Keep Talking.jpg

*The exposure to a variety of vocabulary, both in the action words Elliott is using and in the lyrics she will begin to repeat soon, will enhance Elliott’s future repertoire of vocabulary. “For if you wish for children to develop a sophisticated spoken vocabulary, they must also hear a sophisticated vocabulary.” (Music and Movement for Infants and Toddlers: Naturally Wonder-Full.  By John M. Feierabend, Ph.D.)

 The sheer number of words a baby hears affects his language ability later in life. Notice the graph here as it relates to vocabulary development in children who are talked to and within their formative first years of life.

GRAPH from pg. 40 in WeJoySing manual, From article: Inside Your Baby’s Brain

Elliot’s videos clearly reveal that she is ‘talking’ excessively to her little baby! Wouldn’t you love to know just what she is saying so vibrantly and lovingly to her teddy?  Obviously, her WeJoySing musical experiences have made a lasting impression on this 17 month old little life!

These early impressionable years are extremely important in our little ones’ development. The amazing, joy-filled moments of music and play in their lives have far-reaching effects on their overall development and are happily disguised as play! So Bounce, Bounce, Bounce awaaaay!!

Mrs. Kristi!
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