No matter where we come from, music plays an important role in our culture and has a big impact on our children. Parents notice that their children can quickly identify rhythm and learn to move to the beats of music, but there are few who know just how closely connected music and child development are.
Music and children have a special connection as music can help improve child’s language and fine motor skills. For parents who are looking for the best ways to incorporate more music into their children’s lives, we’ve prepared a few easy tips:
Music for babies
It’s simple: babies love music. They enjoy the rhythm, the singing, and they love being rocked to sleep with parents singing or humming a tune. Infants are known to recognize melodies and rhythms before they can even understand speech, and in addition, listening to music actually helps them understand speech later on in life.
Children listening to music will try to mimic certain sounds they hear and they’ll try moving to the beat as soon as they can. What is more, soothing background music is great for infants as it can mimic the white noise they’ve been accustomed to in the womb. When singing to infants, keep the songs short and your voice soft so as not to overstimulate them.
Toddlers and music
If babies liked listening to music, toddlers are in love with dancing! They like to move around to the rhythm and even though they don’t always remember the lines, they already have favorite songs and rhymes. Play the same songs over and over to make it easier for them to remember the lyrics and say the words.
They also like silly songs which they can dance to but which make them laugh at the same time. You can often sing a familiar song and insert a new word in it. For example, you can change the order of the colors in a rainbow, say that Mary had a little frog and that Old McDonald had an elephant on his farm. This is also a good time to encourage them to produce rhythms by tapping on different objects and using triangles or little bells.
Music for (pre)schoolers
Preschoolers love to sing and they aren’t self-conscious about it either, which is why you can often see many kindergarten children singing together. They like simple songs that invite them to do or show something: jump, twirl, bend down, walk…
Even though preschoolers are still too young to learn to play an instrument properly, you can start introducing various instruments in form of toys which will help them learn to play an instrument later on. It has also been noted that when school kids are learning music, they usually perform better in class and have a better memory than their peers who don’t. Learning in one area can help children become better in other areas too, so learning to play the violin or the drums can result in them learning to spell better or excel in science.
Teenagers and music
Teenagers are difficult to deal with, any parent will tell you that, but music is something that helps them express who they are. Through music, teenagers form friendships, communicate with their friends, express their happiness, sadness, and frustration, and feel better even after a terrible day.
They begin realizing that the world is more complicated than they used to think, and by listening to music they feel better. Music that describes different feelings is appealing to them because by listening to it they feel like they’re coping with their own emotions better. This is the time when they start expressing even greater interest in music instruments and even start forming their own bands.
Playing an instrument
There is much that small children can gain from music if they learn to play an instrument too. When they’re actively engaged in music, the benefits are much greater, and children learn much more. By learning to play an instrument, children also improve their memory skills, as playing is like a great mental exercise.
What is more, playing an instrument makes the child’s brain work at greater speeds, and this, in turn, also helps improve their hand-eye coordination. What is more, when they’re able to play well, music will allow children to express themselves better and further develop their sense of achievement because they’re becoming increasingly better at something.
Music and memory
We already mentioned that music helps children remember things. Small children will often find it easier to do something they hear in a song: brushing their teeth, tying their shoelaces, making their beds… In addition, some may even remember their lessons or certain information when they hear it in form of a song.
On the other hand, children who can play an instrument have better memory than their peers who don’t, and this can help them excel in school too. While many believe that music and playing are creative outlets, music and math are closely connected. Children who can play have a better understanding of scales, beats, and rhythm, and this will help them learn how to divide, create fractions and recognize patterns in math much faster.
Just like certain tracks on your playlist can help you find the motivation to finish a difficult workout, there are others that can help you go to sleep. Many parents soon discover that music their kids listen to has a similar effect on them.
Music tracks with slower beat and pace will help slow down a person’s heartbeat and calm the breathing, which is why parents use relaxing music to help their children fall asleep faster. Listening to relaxing music will help relieve tension from the muscles, and you can play such music around bedtime to help your children calm down, relax, and prepare for going to bed.
Music plays an important role in the life of a child, and as a parent, you naturally want what’s best for your children. By encouraging kids to listen to educational music, sing, dance, and play an instrument, you’re actually helping them learn many other things.
They’re going to grow up having a better memory, better understanding of math and science, be able to express themselves in different ways, and have a greater sense of achievement than their peers. It’s beyond doubt that music and child development are closely connected, and you should expose your children to music from an early age.