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Exploring Mothers' Experiences Participating in Parent-Infant Singing Classes



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Music interventions have been shown to improve parent-child interactions (e.g., Lyons, 2000; Mackenzie & Hamlett, 2005; Nicholson et al., 2008; Oldfield et al., 2003) and maternal sensitivity (Nicholson et al., 2008). However, there are currently no studies of Canadian parents’ perceived motivations for, and their experiences participating in, singing classes with their infants. Therefore, more information is needed on Canadian parents’ experiences, and motivations for, participating in singing classes with their infants in order to better understand and support healthy parenting behaviours and infant development.. Specifically, the research questions guiding this preliminary inquiry, were: (1) What do parents identify as factors motivating them to participate in parent-infant singing classes? and (2) What do parents identify as the benefits of participating in parent-infant singing classes? Interviews were conducted with four mothers who were attending parent-infant singing classes. Two music instructors involved in the parent-infant singing classes were also interviewed to learn more about the content and functioning of the classes. Additionally, the Parenting Sense of Competency Scale (PSOCS) and the Key to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS) were administered to gain additional information related to parent participation in parent-child singing groups (i.e., parenting behaviours and parental sensitivity), and to triangulate data from parent interviews. Four themes emerged from the parents’ interview data: (1) mothers’ motivations, (2) enhanced parenting, (3) parents’ enhanced view of self, and (4) predictors of change. Parents described their development of music-based parenting tools they perceived to have helped them better regulate their infants’ emotions and behaviours, strengthen their parent-child relationship, and support their child’s language and musical development. In addition, parents described the positive development of their view of self as demonstrated by decreases in reported parenting guilt, normalization of parenting struggles, and an increased focus on success. Moreover, preliminary findings raised questions about additional variables that may enhance growth of parenting skills to foster language and musical development and parental self-efficacy, such as using repetition, routines and structure, and developing supportive relationships with classmates and instructors. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.



singing music classes parent infant parents infants benefits motivations



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Psychology and Special Education


School and Counselling Psychology


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