Today I’m going to explain the importance of your voice for your baby, and how you can alter your voice to be more effective.
As a kid I had a raspy voice. When I sang with my cousins it was clear that they had the “prettier” voices – smooth, light, clear. Mine was a lawn mower.
As I got older I grew to like my voice, or at least fully accept it, and how it always sounded like a whisper, as if I was always telling a secret.
Your voice is our invisible calling card. Its a huge part of how you communicate with your baby. And yet, it’s an aspect of ourselves we don’t often think about.
We tend to focus on clothing, behavior, and facial expressions when we talk about someone’s personality. But studies show that we listen to the sound and tone of voices twice as much as what’s being said.
Your voice communicates your feelings, temperament and identity.
Men tend to feel how poignantly intertwined their voice is with their identity when they go through puberty. Suddenly, songs they once sung seem too high, and people respond differently to them on the phone. Women’s voices often become lower as they age or after they give birth. Joni Mitchell is a perfect example of this.
When this happens, it can take a while for the identity to catch up to the new voice.
It’s the reason recent science has developed new ways to provide those who need a mechanical voice with one that will be more nuanced and specific to who they are. Now, a 6 year old girl doesn’t need to have the “Perfect Paul” (Stephen Hawkings) or the “Beautiful Better” (Siri) which used to be all that existed.
Now let’s think about your baby. Your baby is ONLY listening to the tone of your voice. It is paramount to how you are communicating with your baby.
With a little awareness and intention, you can alter your voice to be more effective with your baby so that you convey exactly what you want to convey.
Here are some exercises to alter your voice in order to be more effective in your communication with your baby:
1. Gain Awareness
Often we’re not aware of how our voice sounds to our kids, not only because we’re used to it but because it sounds lower in our heads than outside in the world.
Recording your voice when you are speaking can give you great insight. We often think we know but it can surprise you.
Part of this exercise is not to judge! You’re just listening curiously.
2. Travel in Your Body
Your voice can change vastly simply focusing on different areas in your body as you speak. We sometimes experiment with this in our classes. Try speaking from your diaphragm, from your throat, or from your nose. See how your tone and energy change. This awareness can help you be more intentional with your baby.
For instance, when I record songs, I usually imagine that my mouth is on my belly. It helps me sing from a deeper place.
3. Embody Others
This one might be the most effective of all the techniques I use when working to alter my voice, especially when it comes to speaking to your baby in stressful situations. Conjure up a voice that you WISH you had, or someone with a voice you admire, and imagine that you have their voice. Let your entire tone, cadence and melody change to be that person.
I actually do this a lot when I am singing a song at home or at the mic. I imagine I am someone else who I think would sound perfect singing my song – Sara Bareilles, Sam Cooke, Ed Sheeran, and I sing like they would. It often gets me out of overthinking it and into a more calm place.
4. Stay Hydrated
The singers among you know this. Keeping your voice hydrated is paramount to keeping it healthy and flexible. Lots of water, tea, and a humidifier can help make your voice feel stronger and calmer.
Skip the voice
Sometimes your body language and facial expressions can say it all. If you are feeling overwhelmed and know that you won’t be able to control your voice, try using your body language instead.
For instance open your body to a hug or to convey warmth. Or do what I often do when I’m pissed – simply use THE LOOK.
For a great way yo use your voice to SOOTHE your baby check out this post.
So, dear Tunester, do you wish you could alter your voice a bit? Or just be more aware of what you are conveying to your baby? COMMENT below and let us know!
Do you have a friend who would love to try some of these excercises? Send her this post and tell her to sign up for future Tuesday Tune-Ins.
To hear new songs and find out how these tips look in action, follow us on Instagram at Baby in Tune.