Little Hands music classes to begin at Gainesville Ballet Company

NEW Little Hands classes will be available this winter at the Gainesville Ballet Company!  Come to a free mixed-age preview on Monday, January 12. 2015 at 10:15 am.
Mondays, 1/19 – 4/13, toddlers at 10:15 and infants at 11:00. Register today!

We’re thrilled to be partnering at this lovely facility with another high-quality arts community! Come join us and tell your friends in the area that Little Hands classes are now closer to home!

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Whining and the Preschooler

letter(Note: I often receive emails from parents about their struggles.  Here, a parent has given permission to share our email exchange about whining and her preschool-age son.)

To Beth:
I have a parenting question for you…Do you have an effective way to deal with whining?  Our son like most 4 year olds, can be very whiny at times.  We have tried all sorts of ways to deal with his whining: talking to him, counting him out, timeouts, ignoring, rewarding him for good behavior.  Nothing seems to work all that well.  Whining is not fun…and how we are dealing with it is making for some un-enjoyable times, especially on the weekends.  I have always valued your parenting advice so any thoughts you have are greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much! Take care,
“Mom who needs help!”

To “Mom who needs help with whining 4-year old:”

I love your question about whining.  It reminds me of those lovely days 3-why-does-my-child-whine-1024with preschoolers in my house, (and whining a lot!) :) I sometimes made a joke with my children that “I don’t understand whining language.  Can you speak Clear Talk Language?”

Whining is an older child’s form of infant crying.  Your son whines because there is something that he can’t handle, doesn’t like, or is frustrated by.  Using a whining voice is like crying with words.  It’s very easy to see our little guys as older than they actually are emotionally, especially when they can speak so well!  Often, though, the whining comes from a place of not completely understanding the emotional landscape of what’s happening inside them (and sometimes to the powerlessness they feel in a situation where they have little or no control – like when to go to bed, whether or not they’ll be allowed to watch TV, etc. etc. etc.!)

Acknowledging the feeling, while still limiting the behavior is the first step.  “I know you really want to stay up because we’re having so much fun, and you wish you could stay up forever and ever, AND every body needs rest, so it’s time for bed.  Let’s hop on one foot all the way to the stairs!” If distracted attention doesn’t work, acknowledge the feeling by asking about it during a lap squeeze (attention without “giving in” to the whining, but with some loving connection) – “Let’s sit in the cuddling chair and try to figure out what’s really going on.”  parent-talking-childmkb

Often a preschooler whines when they are hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT) and can’t completely identify their need – so they whine about everything else! Meeting those HALT needs is another good strategy. Trying to pre-empt those times of pushing beyond what’s reasonable to expect (like a four hour shopping trip in the 90 degree heat…) will help keep your son from getting to the point of whining to release his frustration.

Another more difficult reason for whining is to express negative feelings, but not having a safe way to do it.  Some children don’t want to scream or “lash out” because anger is not a socially-acceptable emotion to express, though we all need to express it at one point or another.  Giving ways to express frustration and anger in healthy ways (strong physical play with an inanimate, indestructible object like a cardboard box or big pillow) is key to avoiding it “leaking out” in other ways, like whining or passive aggression.

More practical tips can be found in this article by Laura Markham. Hope it will help you!  Til soon, Beth


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Walking Feet vs. No Running

Little 2 year old Joey just jumped down three steps at a time and fell in a crying heap on the floor. His mom, helping to pick him up says, “Joey, don’t jump on the stairs!” And then little Joey climbs back up the steps to jump again! … What happened? Why did Joey repeat something his mother just told him “No” about?

walking down stairs

A young child thinks in pictures. He will interpret the words he’s hearing by “seeing” the pictures in his mind. Not having a concrete picture for the word, “No,” he sees a picture of jumping and the stairs … and goes to repeat his behavior! Again, if Joey is now running around the room and he is told “No running!” he “sees” these words in his mind as running … and he will go to repeat the behavior again!

For this age, as much as possible it is best to change our directions into a positive statement such as:

Walking feet vs. Don’t run

Let’s use a quiet voice vs. Don’t yell

Can you roll the ball? vs. No throwing inside the house


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Story time with music: From Head to Toe

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle 

ISBN: 0-06-443596-2 FromHeadtoToe

  1. Read the book, make animal noises, identify ways that they are moving. Use the tune to Head and Shoulders to sing the book.  i.e. turn your head baby one, two, three; raise your shoulders baby one, two, three; etc.
  2. Play along to When Sheep Get Up in the Morning. Use an instrument to tap various body parts while singing with same tune.
  3. Get up and move to the Head and Shoulders song, following the motions of the lyrics.  Touch head and shoulders, clap on 1-2-3 and jump back, forward, and side-to-side with the song.

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Story time with music: The Incredible Book Eating Boy

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Incredible Book Eating Boy

ISBN: 978-0-399-24749-1 

  1. Read book and discuss.  This is a bit long and might be best for older kids and smaller groups.
  2. Explore shakers with the tune of Jazzy Twinkle
  3. Play along with The Library Song.

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Story time with music: Career Day

Career Day by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell 

Career Day

ISBN: 0-06-027565-0 

  1. Read the book and explore what people do for work.
  2. Use the song When I Grow Up to sing about people in the book and about ideas the kids have about what they would like to do when they grow up.

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Story Time with Music: Baking Day At Grandma’s

baking dayABOUT THE BOOK

Baking Day At Grandma’s By Anika Denise
Illustrated by Christopher Denise
Published by Philomel
ISBN-13: 9780399242441
Hardcover, $16.99
Ages 3+

Baking Day at Grandma’s Text Copyright © 2014 Anika Denise
Artwork Copyright © 2014 Christopher Denise

Three bouncing little bear siblings, wrapped tight in their winter clothes, can’t wait to tromp through the snow for Baking Day at Grandma’s!  In a rhyming text that begs to be sung, the bears and their grandma pour and mix and stir—with breaks for hot cocoa and dancing—to create the perfect wintry treat. Then they wrap it up in ribbons to show that sweets are even better when they’re shared. With a recipe in the back, this is a perfect family feel-good story for the fall, winter, and any holiday spent with grandparents.  Enjoy stirring, shaking and dancing with this specially adapted song from the Little Hands library of songs!

Purchase the book HERE.

Listen to the Baking Day Song from Little Hands: View other story time music suggestions on our website HERE.

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Story Time with Music: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson and Tiphanie Beeke 

ISBN: 978-0-06-157397-2 FletcherFallingLeaves

  1. Read the book and notice the changes that occur, the animals that come, and how Fletcher tries to help the tree.
  2. Sing Falling Leaves (link below) while making hands fall like leaves. Get up to move and fall like the leaves. Scoop imaginary leaves like the squirrels, roll in the leaves like the porcupine, fly like the birds:
    1. Squirrels are scooping leaves up, time to make a nest. Taking just what we need, leaving all the rest.
    2. Porcupine is rolling, in leaves that have come down.  Collecting a warm coat, of leaves down on the ground.
    3. All the birds are flying, swirling to the tree.  Bringing back the colors, found in autumn leaves.
  3. Add rainbow streamers, scarves or silk leaves and make them float and fly and fall to the song.  Enjoy moving and dancing to Bassez Down (link below.)

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Story time with Music: Bread and Jam for Frances

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban

ISBN: 0-06-443096-0 Bread&Jam

  1. Read the book and notice the foods Frances won’t eat.  Also, note that she comes to change in her own time and with the patience of those around her.
  2. List foods that Frances didn’t want to eat and possibly some new food ideas.
  3. Sing Yeah, I Might Try That (link below) and add in foods from the book.  Start with ‘I’ll eat bread and I’ll eat jam…’ and go from there.
  4. Possible art tie-in – make a picture of a food you don’t like to eat, but that you might like to try and/or a picture of a food you do like to eat.  Maybe sing the song again with the children’s foods.
  5. Another book along these lines is I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, and could be used instead of, or in addition to, Bread and Jam for Frances.

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Hello, Rainbow


Here’s an excerpt from the song “Hello Rainbow”  a song from our upcoming HELLO RAINBOW session…


Join us on an artistic and musical adventure through the colorful world of the rainbow! Visit with squirrels, frogs, whales, and other friends as we travel from the sunny red and orange leaves of fall through the green meadow to the big blue sea. Children will spend time investigating the wonders of nature and various locations where bright colors spark the imagination and call out for singing and dancing. Through a combination of teacher and self directed activities we will work to develop rhythmic, listening, movement, and singing skills.

Register now and share this post if you have friends or family who might want to join us as Little Hands (and feet) make music!

Call 703-631-2046 to let us know you’d like to try a class before registering!

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