Songs for Routines and Transitions


Songs for Routines and Transitions

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care. All rights reserved.

Music and songs play an important role in babies’ lives. Research shows that babies as young as eight months old can remember and recognize familiar pieces of music.

Play the same simple songs during daily routines to help babies recognize and connect a specific song to a specific experience. For example, a simple song such as “This Is the Way We Wash Our Hands” will help babies learn to anticipate, enjoy, and help with routines like hand washing.

  • Use simple songs to help babies begin to calm and regulate themselves and to learn to cope with transitioning from one routine to another. A familiar song helps them know when you are preparing for the new routine to begin.
  • Find transition songs by searching on the Internet. Many preschool transition songs, such as “Hokey Pokey,” are easy to adapt. For example, as you put on a baby’s pants, you can sing, “Let’s put your feet in . . . Now shake them all about.” Soon, the baby may be “helping” with the dressing process.

As older babies learn group routines, such as helping with clean-up or toddling out to the playground, you can teach them songs to sing together. For example, have new walkers hold hands with friends to go “All Around the Mulberry Bush” (or “All Around the Slippery Slide”) together.

Singing, like talking, is a wonderful way to respond to a baby’s needs and engage him in back-and-forth interaction. But singing should not become a substitute for talking. Babies need to hear and respond to lots of language in songs, stories, baby games, and babble conversations—all throughout the day.

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