Written by Shalini Saxena on 31 October 2019
“Music is a joy that I believe should be a part of every child’s life.”
- Shankar Mahadevan
Music has no language but it is a language in itself. Every child’s brain is wired to learn music, just the way it is designed to learn languages. Children are born with the potential to develop a bond with music and it’s the parents who can nurture the love for music in their children. Music can play a big role in a child's early life and development. Research has proven the innumerable benefits of exposing children to music from an early stage! Singing and listening to music during pregnancy has been associated with multiple benefits like reducing stress levels, fetal brain development and strengthening the mother's bond with the child. Music can even be exceptionally helpful in toddler’s development as they grow and provide several cognitive, developmental and emotional benefits. Here’s why and how exposing your child to music can set the stage for developing a lifelong musical connection:
Studies have shown the earlier a child is exposed to music, the better is their brain’s stimulation! Yes, a child’s brain can benefit from music even before they actually start walking or talking. Know the benefits of musical connections in your child’s life:
Music is known to improve a child's cognitive (thinking) skills as it provides a natural opportunity to practice patterns and mathematical concepts. Structured music lessons and participation in musical activities are are known to enhance child’s memory, concentration power and spatial-temporal reasoning skills.
Music is known to improve sensory development in toddlers. At this stage, the brain development happens at an incredible rate and your child something new from every experience. Just like any other sense - taste, smell, vision or touch - listening to music promotes sensory development in your child by creating pathways in their brain cells. Using bells, triangles, drums or other easy-to-use musical instruments engages the child even more, thriving his brain cells.
Music can stimulate various senses in your child which can help him/her in learning languages as well as improving communication skills. Kids get to learn new words while singing and often crack the correct pronunciation without being taught explicitly. Besides improving fluency of speech music helps in developing reading and writing skills.
Music can evoke emotions at any age, but as a child it can help uplift your child’s mood (by listening to fun rhymes) or soothe them into a comfortable deep sleep (by singing or playing calm lullabies). Music can help your child develop social and emotional skills, such as self-regulation, self-confidence and socio-emotional intelligence.
Enjoying music with your baby is an activity which both of you can enjoy together and can strengthen the bond between you two. Raise musical awareness in your child in a playful manner, never impose any rules. Encourage him/her to hum or complete lines of a familiar song while you sing or play it. Slowly ask them to sing along and witness the joy of music spread through their smile.
There can be many ways to sing and move with your child. Clapping activities along the song’s rhythm or dancing along while listening to music are extremely engaging for kids.
Select the songs that appeal to children and play them on loop! These can be popular rhymes or some soothing classics - make it a routine of listening to it regularly and updating the list in a few days.
Infants start responding to sounds they hear just after they are born. As they move from infant to toddler stage and higher, they can themselves start humming or singing simple songs/rhymes.
An infant responds to his/her parent’s voice and singing to them have a calming effect, especially around bedtime. Playing soft music or singing lullabies can be the first step towards introducing the child to both music as well his/her mother tongue . Think of the lullabies your mother used to sing for you, ask her if you can’t recall or just get started with these popular ones in your native languages:
As they grow older, introducing them to nursery rhymes or simple short songs can be a fun-filled way to encourage them to sing. Singing rhymes to your child can help him/her to identify sound patterns and to learn through repetition. A fun way to introduce them to notes can be Swara mapping with familiar rhymes. Mapping the Swaras (music notes) to rhythmic nursery rhymes can be an engaging and easy activity for kids. Here are 7 all-time favorite nursery rhymes to start with:
Make music a part of your little ones life, it’s a gift they’ll cherish forever.