Music can be a wonderful thing. Some people love listening to their favourite singers when they work out, or throwing on a pair of headphones whenever they have to get some things done at the office. It can be the focus of your attention, or just something nice to have in the background. But, beyond just being enjoyable, music has a lot of tangible benefits. This is particularly true for babies and toddlers.
In the first few years of life, babies and toddlers develop at an incredible rate. Their brains are forming new links every day as they learn about the world. One of the ways that their brains develop is to learn to understand the world around them by processing different senses.
Music can be a fantastic way to help babies and toddlers develop their sense of hearing. Music exposes kids to all different sounds. Percussion, strings, singing, and a whole lot more. When a baby’s brain gets exposed to these different sounds, it makes new connections and develops at an ever faster rate.
There are all kinds of ways that music can help with a toddler’s fine and gross motor skills. There is something about music that can make it hard to sit still. Even young toddlers are bound to start dancing or jumping around when a song comes on, and that is something that can really help with gross motor skills.
For toddlers that really take a shine to music, a toddler piano, triangle, xylophone, or toy drum set might be in order. These instruments can help little ones with both fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Don’t set your expectations too high though. At a young age, playing with musical instruments is more about having fun than it is about producing anything that resembles music.
Math And Literacy
A lot of parents have heard that exposure to music is linked to mathematical ability. In fact, this has been termed the Mozart effect. It’s worth noting though that in spite of the name, listening to any type of classical music (not just Mozart) will have a positive impact. Classical music helps to stimulate the part of the brain that is responsible for mathematics.
Less widely known is the benefit that music has on literacy. For starters, listening to music actively engages a baby or toddler’s brain. Since songs have many different words, little ones get exposure to a wide range of vocabulary, some of which is new to them. Given that their brains are fully activated, they tend to remember the words that they hear in songs remarkably well. This makes intuitive sense for anyone that has ever had a song stuck in their head.
Getting a little bit of a boost in vocabulary at an early age can pay major dividends down the road for a child that is learning to read and write. Having a broader vocabulary makes reading easier, and also gives children more confidence. This in turn helps create a high level of enthusiasm for learning.
Social And Emotional Benefits
Music has a natural ability to elevate a person’s mood. In fact, that’s a big part of the reason that so many adults enjoy listening to their favourite songs. So, when your little one seems a little fussy or bored, throwing on some tunes can work wonders.
Music is also a great thing to enjoy socially. Some toddlers might enjoy dancing together to an upbeat song. Others might enjoy playing with their pals while some soft music plays in the background, and enhances the experience.
Music can also be used to help drive home important lessons. For example, if your little one watches Daniel The Tiger, you might have come across any number of gems like sharing with you is fun for me too. These simple jingles are easy to remember, and help teach children important social lessons.
Tips For Making Music A Part Of Your Child’s Life
With all of the benefits that music has to offer, you might be wondering just how to incorporate it into your daily routine. Here are a few ideas that have worked well for me:
- Car rides. Car rides can be really boring for little passengers, especially long ones. So, throw on some tunes to help keep your little one engaged and having fun.
- Around the house. Whether you’re playing games or doing mundane chores, putting on some music can make the experience quite a bit more enjoyable.
- Dance, dance, dance. Sometimes it’s great to have music playing in the background. Other times, you can make it the focus of what you’re doing. There is no better way to do that than to have a dance party with your toddler.
- Ofte, music is energising and uplifting. However, there are also plenty of songs that are peaceful and serene. Whether you enjoy singing lullabies or just streaming them, they can be a great way to set the mood for sleep.
Listening to music can be fun, uplifting, and thoroughly enjoyable. But, it also packs a number of big benefits. For these reasons, it can be a great idea to incorporate it into your family’s life. If nothing else, it will make everything just a little bit more enjoyable.