Introducing music into your baby’s life is one of the many beneficial activities you can suggest, even from the womb!
You may have already heard that listening to music can benefit everyone in several ways, especially babies. It soothes, lifts the spirits, it also creates a moment of bonding and sharing. If you’re already relishing on the idea of sharing your own love and passion for music with the other greatest love of your life, then you should definitely read on about the great benefits of introducing music to your baby and children
But before we jump into how to introduce music to your baby or kids, let’s take a quick glance at some of the benefits of music for babies.
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4 Quick Benefits of Music for Babies
There’s nothing out there in this world that prepares people to be parents. And frankly, everything that you do for your children has an effect. Sometimes, you’re completely at a loss and sometimes you just know what to do, as a work of magic. You’ll read books, articles, ask your friends and your parents too. You’ll find lots of information out there and once you find something that tickles you in some way, you’ll definitely want to give it a try.
This is where the music comes in and why you’re reading this article. There are many benefits of music for babies and kids.
Music brings life-altering benefits throughout each season of childhood, in fact, even the youngest baby can learn many things through music. This study showed that babies and toddlers that participated in interactive music classes communicate better, smile more often, and are easier to calm and soothe. It’s true, music from a young age opens doors to sophisticated brain responses.
1 Support Language Development
Let’s be honest, sometimes, babies make strange sounds when developing language. No worries though, they’re not turning into a rare creature from the jungle, they’re just learning how to talk!
Part of this process is the noises possible with our human elements, such as the voice, lips, tongue, mouth, etc. All of this produces the babbling sounds, cooing, and well… screeching. Vocal play and music go hand in hand, while your baby explores, they can listen to some music which will help them coordinate face and mouth muscles. This encourages breathing and vocal cord use.
2 Helps Experience Patterns
The when-will-I-ever-sleep pattern is the everlasting “eat, sleep, diaper change” babies go through during their first months of life. There’s a scientific terminology for this and it’s called ABC patterns. These patterns help babies connect with the world and recognize it. This helps increase their sense of safety and makes them feel more relaxed and happier in their environment. Just playing a bit of music during their schedule, will help them recognize the world. Babies that listen to music regularly, experience patterns through rhythm, tempo, dancing and vocal play.
3 Fine & Gross Motor Skill Development
During their first year of life, you’ll think your baby is growing by the hour! You’ll notice this with clothing but also by how their motor skills are quickly developing. One day they’re in the ABC pattern and the next they start grasping fingers. After this, you’ll notice them touching their nose and recognizing their own body.
Babies that engage in fun musical activities during their day-to-day routines are able to strengthen each stage of their development. Hand your baby a baby-safe instrument and watch them recognize sounds, and develop their muscles, coordination, and movement.
4 Activate Listening Skills
Just like adults, when you concentrate on hearing your favorite tunes, it’s like the noise of the world suddenly disappears. You find yourself in an oasis, even if it’s just in your mind. Sometimes, the world is very noisy, streets, people talking, the fridge running, the phones ringing. You, as an adult have the capacity to tune out sounds that bother you, however, babies do not. They hear absolutely everything. All 300 tones, phonemes, clicks, etc.
However, music can teach babies how to tune into the sounds for leveraging language skills. This helps them gain the ability to pay attention to and distinguish different sounds and be receptive to language quicker.
How to Introduce Music to your Baby from the Womb to Toddler Age
Now that you know some of the benefits music will bring to your baby, even from the earliest stages of their life, it’s time we look into introducing music and what type of music to play for them.
1 Benefits of Music for Babies- In the Womb
There are many myths as to the benefits of playing music for your baby while in the womb. Well, according to what scientists know so far, there aren’t any “scientific” benefits to this. The benefits of music are aimed at babies, not fetuses. At this point, there haven’t really been any scientific discoveries about the impact of music on the development of the baby in the womb.
You may have heard that playing music for your baby in the womb is a must since it’ll make your baby smarter. Well, let’s just get this out of the way now: This is a myth. Any studies that were conducted about music for babies aren’t directed to fetuses, only babies, infants, and older children.
2 How to Play Music for your Baby in the Womb
Even if there are no exact scientific benefits to playing music for your baby in the womb, you need to learn about some of the distress you can cause. Take note: If the music you’re playing is too loud, this can overstimulate the baby and even aggravate them.
What’s the best choice? Playing music on the stereo as you go about your daily routine. Ever seen charming images of moms putting headphones on their tummies? Well, this is not the way to go. When music is being played too close, this causes the baby to overstimulate. And yes, it would make sense to turn up the volume because you may think the sound needs to penetrate the belly. However, and to our surprise, amniotic fluid, is a great conductor of sound. Wow!
3 How loud should you play music?
In the late 1990s, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) reported that several studies had shown that babies in the womb exposed to loud noises (over a considerable period of time) were more likely to be born prematurely, born with lower birth weights and may suffer from hearing loss. Nevertheless, these studies were conducted with moms who worked in very noisy areas, which is considerably different than going to a pop concert once during your entire pregnancy.
Consequently, turning up the volume to higher than 65 decibels (dB) is still not a good idea, which can startle and hurt the baby. But, if you really enjoy music for longer periods, the best thing you can do is listen at a volume below 50 dB.
Let’s take a look at some of the dB levels of a common household.
- 80dB – phone ringing
- 75 – 85 dB – a toilet being flushed
- 65 – 80 dB – alarm clock going off
- 60 – 95 dB – hairdryer in action
- 60 – 85 dB – a vacuum cleaner
- 55 – 70 dB – dishwasher in function
- 50 – 75 dB – a washing machine in function
If you’ve ever gone to the movies or a concert at a later stage in your pregnancy (when you can feel your baby move), you’ll notice that the louder the sounds get, the more the baby squirms. This is because high pitched sounds are being irritable to them.
These loud noises will not only irritate them, but they will also startle you. And if loud sounds startle you, this nervous feeling is automatically passed down to your baby. This is the point in which we finally get to see the other side of the coin: Putting the focus back on yourself.
Since there isn’t any scientific proof that the fetus benefits from music, you’ll need to play music that soothes you instead! Sure, if heavy metal soothes and relaxes you, go for it. Everything you do will affect your baby, this is the truth! Find music that makes you feel better and not startled. And to be honest? Music is a lifesaver in the midst of how stressful pregnancy can get.
Benefits of Music for Newborns & Babies Stage
Once your baby is born, they’ll easily become big music fans, especially when music is a part of their daily routine. For instance, you can sing to your baby while playing soothing lullabies or instrumentals while they fall asleep. You’ll notice that once you start doing this every day, this pattern will help them fall asleep quicker and feel restful.
1 Some of the Benefits of Music for Babies & Newborns
Most babies like music as most adults do. Music is part of our lives! For babies, listening to some tunes is good for them at this stage. Take a look at some other benefits of music for babies.
- Speech Recognition. Babies can’t comprehend language yet, however, they can definitely understand musical patterns. Music will help them understand speech in the future.
- When you sing to them, they’ll pay attention to your facial expressions and the funny faces you make. By combining these two, your baby will grasp communication. They’ll watch attentively how your expressions change throughout the song.
- When singing to your baby, the sounds you’ll make will help teach your baby about emotionality and how to regulate it. Learning and mastering emotions is a very important part of their development.
- Helps Premature Babies. Lullabies, as well as live music, can help a premature baby’s vital signs and allows parents to spend their time more soothingly. Often times, as a parent of a premature baby, you may feel helpless or impotent, music can help you get through these feelings.
- Cognitive Skills: Music is a great helper for skills such as memory and counting! You’ll notice that even if your baby is about 8 months old, they’ll be able to recognize certain parts of a song even if it was just introduced a couple of weeks back.
- Music reduces stress. One of the greatest benefits of music for babies is how it helps reduce their stress levels. Music can be very soothing to them.
- Better Sleep. According to Greater Good, parents who sing to their babies, help them get better sleep.
2 The Benefits of Singing to your Baby
According to some research, we may not be singing to our children enough. Singing is actually the first language lesson ever given to them. However, Sally Goddard Blythe, the director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology believes there is much emphasis on reading, writing, arts, and numbers, but not enough on singing, which ultimately reduces risks of language development issues in their future.
Babies will start developing the ability to recognize and process sounds at about twenty-five weeks old. However, certain studies state that even day-old babies are able to recognize rhythmic patterns. Just goes to show that we are actually born with the ability to recognize and appreciate sounds and singing.
3 How to Sing to your Baby
There is no exact science as to how to sing to your baby, but there are important tips to keep in mind about how you do it. Generally, when singing to babies, the pitch of our voice is raised and we sing at a slower tempo. Also, the emotionality of your tone rises and we begin to rock, move slowly and maintain eye contact.
This “infant-directed” singing, has several benefits. Not only does it strengthen the bond between child and parent, but it also regulates the baby’s excitement level to bring them down to a sense of attention, focus, and awareness. When singing, you’ll be altering your baby’s mood in this way, which can help with sleeping, feeding and soothing nap times. All of this will have a positive impact on the infant’s development and growth!
4 Do you need to take singing lessons?
Most people aren’t Grammy Award winners, right? But this really doesn’t matter. You’re singing to your baby and you’re perfect for them in every way. You won’t be signing to Simon Cowell (fortunately). The sound of your voice to your baby is soothing and makes them pay attention.
You can sing popular Nursery rhymes or children’s songs you know. As long as you sing something suited for them, even if it’s a Bruno Mars ballad song, they’ll be happy to hear it. Also, you’ll be surprised to know that babies oftentimes prefer your voice than recorded music, especially at this age, where it’s important to have skin-to-skin bonding moments. Adding singing will be perfect.
So, as you can see, there are many, many benefits and not many drawbacks when it comes to music benefits for babies and children. However, it will be smart for you to protect your baby’s ears. If you’re just singing lullabies it’s no concern for your baby, but if you decide to play music on your stereo or in your car, definitely keep it low.
Also, it’s important to know that babies shouldn’t be listening to music all day. It’s all about balance. Remember they also need to have their quiet time too!
5 How to Introduce Music to your Baby
Most babies are naturally attracted to music, and getting them interested isn’t very difficult. However, in case you need a little extra push, here are a few tips on how to start playing music for your baby.
- Sing along with them. Encourage them to join in while you’re singing along! You can try to occasionally pause so they can sing along with you.
- Incorporate Instruments. This can be fun! You can incorporate different types of instruments, like maracas, xylophones, tambourines, you name it. Let them play around and experiment with different sounds and show them yourself.
- Music during bedtime. The best time to get your baby enjoying soothing music is bedtime. This will calm them and you too! This is a great way to incorporate music as part of their routine. Once this pattern is introduced, you’ll notice your baby will fall asleep faster and sleep for longer periods of time, as a consequence of music.
- Try with different varieties of music: Lullabies are special, sure, but you can also try to incorporate some fun, upbeat tunes during the day. Babies love hearing different types of music. Soon, you’ll find out which one’s their favorite!
- Rhyming. Due to what we mentioned about patterns, babies love rhymes and are able to recognize them quickly. Nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce rhymes.
- Pay Attention to their Reactions. How do they feel? Are they suddenly startled by the playlist you chose? Are they smiling or even laughing? Paying attention to their expressions is important to find out about their music tastes!
- Interaction. While you can play music throughout the day, make sure you also interact with your baby while music is playing. Remember that music is an opportunity for bonding with your baby too, share the experience and the moment!
- Incorporate Movement. In order to capture their attention and have them engaged with music, try acting a little silly too! Clapping hands, snapping fingers, dancing and over-exaggerated dancing will have your baby laughing and having a great time. They’ll recognize music as a fun and de-stressing activity.
Babies will love just about anything you play, especially if you like it too and know the words and sing along with them. As time passes, you’ll notice what they like best. They’ll have their own music taste too, you know!
You can try just about anything in terms of genre. Look for soothing, traditional, classics, anything! Plus, you’ll be interested to know you don’t always have to play children’s songs, lullabies or nursery rhymes on the TV, phone or tablet. You can definitely play music you like too.
Benefits of Music for Toddlers
It’s easier to notice love for music in toddlers. You’ll begin to notice they laugh, try to mumble the words to their favorite songs and start to charmingly dancing all around the house.
Trust us, you’ll definitely know which are your child’s favorite tunes. Because at this age, you’ll be hearing them singing it all day long. This is an amazing sign! Yes, we know that hearing the same song repeatedly can become very annoying, but hey, this is just a phase. You’ll soon be reminiscing on these behaviors once they grow up, and boy does that happen fast!
Your child will reap many benefits from hearing and singing the same songs over and over. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1 11 Benefits of Music for Toddlers
- Help with motor skills. Dancing helps toddlers build motor skills greatly. These “gross motor skills” allow your child to move all the muscles in their tiny bodies.
- Helps with Coordination. Dancing to music will greatly help your child with coordination, which will ultimately make them excel at sports. Breaking out a few dance moves will refine their sense of balance and coordination.
- Lifts their mood. We all know this is true. Music uplifts the spirits, whether you’re in a bad mood, feeling sad or need motivation, music is the answer. Same goes for your child. If they aren’t speaking age yet, you’ll notice how music makes them feel through their expressions.
- Creates a bonding moment. Dancing and laughing the day away is always a great way to bond with children. As a parent, you may find it difficult to find an activity that you thoroughly enjoy. Sure, children’s songs and singing along can be fun, but you are in your right to get tired of these! How about playing Celine Dione or Adele? Maybe Queen or George Michaels. Your toddler can definitely enjoy your type of music as well. This will create a super special moment you’ll cherish forever, and so will they!
- Helps with building habits. Children thrive with routines, it helps them know what’s coming up next during the day and gives them solidity. For instance, kids can get a bit cranky during bedtime, however, if there’s music involved such as a lullaby, rest assured they’ll stick to this routine and fall asleep quicker than you think.
- Helps with vocabulary. What best way to learn new words than with music? It’s more educational and fun. You can contribute by playing music that cooperates with vocabulary building and teaching them new words.
- Keeps tradition going. In families, we all have tunes we remember our parents or grandparents used to sing to us or played on the radio. Make your child listen to these tunes too, it’ll give them a sense of belonging as well.
- Empathy. When we listen and explore music with others, in one way or the other, we are learning how to be more empathetic. Believe it or not, this is also good for children. The emotionality that goes into sharing music is very important to teach about empathy and “listening” to others’ feelings.
- Sensory development. Music helps with sensory development as textures and tastes do as well.
- Teaches numbers and literacy. When singing nursery rhymes, you’ll notice that most of them teach something in a pattern type of way. This helps children build literacy and numeracy abilities.
- Improves math. According to this study, children who enjoy music or are involved in music lessons and instruments, will overall score higher scores on math tests. At this age, it might still be early for formal instruction, however, you can show them videos of others playing instruments or take them to classical music concerts.
2 How to Introduce Music to Toddlers
Children are naturally drawn to music, however, as with any habit or skills, there are things you can do to encourage a love for music and have it grow on them.
Here are some tips on how to motivate your child’s love of music.
- Integrate Movement. You might find yourself, that sometimes just listening is impossible. You need to incorporate some movement into it! This is when tapping, marching, and foot-tapping comes into play. Your child will have the best time and be more interested in music, as well as try to follow your steps.
- Add other elements. Encourage imagination too! Remember that children have such a rich imagination at this age. You can bring in toys, pillows, plastic flowers, etc. Depending on the song you’re listening to, including some props!
- Add instruments. While playing some amazing music, you should definitely add some instruments. What about mini drums or bongos? Have them play their instruments while music is on so they try to emulate the sounds of the instruments during the song.
- Patience is everything. You’ll need to be patient when it comes to music. Why? Because kids at this age will want to listen to their favorite tunes over and over again. Let them! Repetition will really assist in the learning process.
- Keep expectations at a respectable standard. By this, we mean that if you’re aware music can make your child more intelligent, it can be very enticing to jump right into music lessons, instruments and so on. Don’t rush into anything and give them some space, they’ll let you know if they’re really interested in music as in playing an instrument, or just want to have fun!
- Your voice is beautiful. Most of the regular folk don’t have Celine Dion voices and that’s OK! Good thing is, your child will not judge your voice. Have fun and be all the silly you want. You’re the best singer in their mind!
- Add sounds to your movements. Jingle bells, maracas, or a noisy hat can be a fun addition to the experience of music. This can teach your child to move specific body parts during a certain part of the song and encourage them to recognize their own bodies.
- Keep it consistent. If you really want your child to have a deep interest in music and benefit from it, occasional music activity just won’t do. You’ll need to make music a part of their daily routine, even if it’s just for a few minutes per day. Whether it’s just singing, playing with instruments for a while during the afternoon, or listening and singing to music in the car, make sure you’re encouraging and incorporating music daily.
- Humming is a great tool to pay attention to melody instead of lyrics. It’s good exercise for your child to recognize the different parts of a song.
- Have fun with it. As mentioned before, it’s enticing to encourage music for children. However, know that they’re not professional musicians at toddler age yet. You can teach technique if you’d like, but should not criticize or judge the way they sing, dance, or play their instrument. Let them enjoy and be as silly as ever.
- Let your Caregivers in on the fun. If you’re away at work for most of the day and you know for a fact that your kids enjoy music and want them to reap the benefits. Leave the necessary tools for encouragement as well as for instructions to your caregiver. You can ask them to sing to your child occasionally or let them know what song they like.
Music at School
Instruments are very beneficial to children and either if your child wants to join the school band, choir or want to learn an instrument after school, you should definitely be motivating this behavior.
Sure, music lessons, as well as instruments, can get somewhat expensive, however, if your child seems very interested in music from such a young age, you should definitely motivate. Music will be an investment, from which you will get the returning rewards.
18 Benefits of Music Education
- The brain is in full function. The brain is a lot more engaged while playing an instrument and this goes for people of all ages. While playing there is substantial growth in neural activity.
- Helps with coordination. It takes a lot of coordination to play an instrument. The amount of hand-eye coordination cannot be underestimated. Playing any instrument can even help in sports if your child is also interested in this activity.
- Helps to develop focus. Children can have some trouble focusing during the early stages of their life and playing an instrument will substantially increase their ability to focus on what they’re learning, especially if they really like it.
- Helps with learning patience. Like with any learning process, playing an instrument can be frustrating and challenging at times, especially when you get stuck on a sour note. It’s true what they say: Practice makes perfect. But, practice takes patience and dedication. Your child won’t only be learning how to play, but to also benefit from emotional gains such as this, to use throughout their lives.
- Sparks Joy. Music really lifts the spirits. When you notice your child is really into music, you’ll notice it in their eyes and their smiles. You’ll then know that playing music is the best part of their day and makes them happy! If your child plays music just because it makes them happy, this is already one of the greatest rewards.
- Increases Self-esteem. While your child grows up, they’ll notice that they’re not good at absolutely everything they pursue. This is a reality for most humans on this Earth. However, if they find something they love and are good at, such as playing an instrument, this develops higher self-esteem, which helps them strive in other pursuits generally.
- Helps them pursue greatness. If your child is really into music and finds happiness in it, they’ll want to do it better each time, until reaching perfection. This motivation can affect other areas of their lives such as school too, which is great.
- Confidence to perform for others. Speaking or performing publicly is a big fear sometimes. However, if children learn to deal with this type of anxiety because of playing an instrument or choir, they’ll be much more confident with speaking in public throughout their lives.
- Improve language skills. The left side of the brain develops through music, which is the side responsible for language skills and development. Your child can benefit from this and become a social butterfly and good speaker throughout their life.
- Relaxing. Music has relaxing and soothing qualities, if your child is a bit squeamish or isn’t very social and becomes stressed easily, they can really find an outlet through music.
- Find their tribe. Finding a space and a group of your own, where you fit in, is most likely one of the most important social aspects of life. In school and through music education, it’s likely that your child finds their group of special friends.
- Work in teams. When your child is part of a group band or choir, it means that they will need to develop organizational skills in order to perform or generate projects for their group. This leads to feelings of belonging as part of a team, which is something that may not always be emphasized in the classroom.
- Multi-tasking. Great students are the ones that make use of all their abilities to multitask while working on something else, this is what music is like too. You’ll need to compose, have coordination, while you also create something new. Children with these skills are able to juggle multiple tasks at once and complete them to perfection.
- Raises IQ: Music education helps your child leverage their intelligence. This study shows that on average, there is a three-point increase in children who study music.
- Ups temporal and spatial reasoning. These skills are the ones utilized by people in the arts, engineering, architecture, and musicians! These skills are leveraged when your child studies music, plays an instrument or sings.
- Helps with taking tests. Children who are into musi