For two year olds, “Please” and “Thank you” are hard to remember but we insist that the kids use the words constantly throughout the day. I knew that one of my first songs I needed to write for my work at YCCA would be a “please and thank you” song. One Sunday evening, I sat down with my guitar and came up with a short melody to use as my chorus. To listen to it, go to the My Music page.
“Please” and “Thank you” are what we say
When we want to get our way
Using nice words is what we do
So Please…. And Thank you!
The very next day, in a music group, I offered tambourines to two kids at a time, making sure they said “please” before receiving the tambourine and “thank you” after. Then those kids got to play the tambourines while I sang through the chorus. We repeated this until every kid got a chance to play the tambourine as their reward for “using nice words.” To mix things up, I would sing the chorus a little differently each time, substituting the lyrics with nonsense syllables like “doot doot doo” “la la la” or “zeebie deebie” – anything to change it up and keep the kids engaged. The nice thing about this intervention was not only were we working on the goal of increasing communication skills by verbalizing “please” and “thank you,” but we also were working on social skills, specifically waiting for turns. It’s very hard to wait. But if you do, you get to play the tambourine! And believe it or not, that is often enough incentive for a kid to sit and wait.
Eventually I’d like to add verses or make another version about other nice words we use. But one thing at a time. Meanwhile, I love that I get to write songs for my job one day and then use them the next day! Plus writing my own songs allows me to tap into my own creativity, which is essential for me as a musician.