Music and Routines

We’ve seen movies with scenes where someone is cleaning while dancing away to some energetic song, and then we feel inspired to be so carefree and fun while cleaning. Granted, movies show only the dancing, with the cleaning supplies sitting there as props, right?  But could we be inspired and motivated to action with music?


The Science

Studies show that music can cause our brains to release dopamine.  While we tend to associate dopamine with pleasure, its actual function is to regulate motivation and goal oriented behavior.

Basically, something that brings pleasure or fun (music) causes dopamine release.  Then the dopamine brings a feeling of motivation and a desire to complete a goal. It’s easy to see why getting something done makes us feel good as well.  Accomplishing a goal, or even the hope and determination to do so, does feel good.

How often do we find ourselves knowing what we should do, but not feeling like doing it?  And if we face this as adults, of course our children experience it as well.  We don’t need any studies to prove that to us!

Where to use music

So is it worth it to come up with some musical solutions?  Are there other ways to use music besides household chores?

In our culture, we already use music to motivate us.  If you go to a gym to workout, you’ll see a lot of headphones. Going for a run?  You’re probably starting your playlist.  We love to use music while we exercise.  More than that, we know to use a driving beat for more exerting activities and to use calming, soothing sounds for yoga and stretching.

How can we use music in other everyday ways besides exercise?

We here at Two Little Hands know how important music is in the lives of children. Our videos are based on music and songs that teach values, education, and are just plain fun to listen to and sing. Our Baby Signing Time series is chock full of songs to engage babies in learning a new language. 

Let’s start with the ASL sign for music.  You can use this to tell your kids it’s music time, or they can use it to ask for music. Little ones will start signing “baby” when they want to watch Baby Signing Time.

Waking up and getting going

The type of music you use here could vary based on your personality and your family’s preferences.  Of course, some of us want something loud, pounding, and motivating.  Others may prefer something more like Vivaldi’s Spring concerto or other slow, calming wake-up music.  Or you could do a combination, beginning with slower songs, progressing with more energetic tunes, and finishing with the get-going-and-get-it-done beats.  Once you figure out your family’s style, put together a playlist of the best songs for you and your kids.

Along with that, you can incorporate signs as you wake up and get moving.

Here’s the sign for “Wake up!

And here’s the sign for “Good Morning!


Do you know that university students have lists online sharing the tunes that help them rock out and get ready to study.  It’s a big thing.  Remember, that dopamine release makes us want to get things done, and college students have figured this out, using music to prepare for study sessions.


Whether it’s an official job or doing the dishes, music can motivate us to work harder and faster.

Additionally, music is quite effective in helping kids to work.  In fact, some preschool programs use songs to help children transition to the next activity or cooperate in an otherwise undesired task, like cleaning up.  In a preschool class, we used to sing a little ditty, “Stations away, stations away. It’s time to put your stations away.”  It was magical.  All of the children sang along and cheerfully put their toys away.

And some signs to go with your chores:

Clean up



Winding down at night

While music can get us going, it can also calm us down.  Bedtime music is a wonderful tool for young children.  It’s helpful in the transition from playing to resting.  Any calm, quiet music can help, but finding pieces that your child can really enjoy will make a difference too.  Along with this, they’ll love a chance to sing along, and the words will stay with them as they go to bed.

Here is a music video for you: Time to Sleep

My Signing Time also has several bedtime songs.  You can find the lyrics here.

Lullaby Song

Bedtime Signs


Good Night

Want more?

We have lots of songs! A MySigningTime subscription gives you access to over 1000 ASL signs and all of our Signing Time songs. Check it out with a free 14-day trial to My Signing Time.

Scroll to Top