Music & Childhood Development

30 Jul 2020

Music & Childhood Development 

 

Musical awareness begins for children at a very early age. We all know how engaging rattles and shakers are to very young children, and how singing to a baby will capture their full attention. But did you know that these musical foundations are changing an infant and toddler’s brain in ways that will benefit them for life?  

 

The benefits of music 

 

Recent neuroscientific research suggests that early exposure to music helps to create neural connections in developing brains and increases abilities in other areas, including:   

  • Improved problem-solving skills 

  • The long-term enhancement of spatial and temporal reasoning skills 

  • Improved language skills 

  • Improved outcomes in mathematical abilities 

  • Increases in short and long-term memory 

  • Greater social skills and social awareness 

  • Enhanced creative intelligence and developed logical brain functions 

  • Enhanced ability to think, comprehend and understand 

Music affects children’s moods and energises their spirit.  Music can also help to reduce stress, relieve tension and regulate emotions. Who hasn’t marvelled at the effect that humming a lullaby and gently rocking has on an over tired baby or distressed child? Music is also an opportunity for children to engage in a pleasurable and shared experience with their peers, adults and their environment, supporting their developing social skills and attention span. 

 

Our music program 

Music is an integral part of our Oac Grow curriculum for babies, toddler and preschoolers/kinders. Our Educators provide opportunities for planned and spontaneous music and movement throughout the day and incorporate music in every day routines.   

 

How to introduce music at home 

  • Sing to your baby: Don't worry about how you sound—your child won't critique you but will love the effort and attention.  Your selections don't have to be limited to lullabies—sing songs during play time too. Stack a tower of blocks and knock it down as you sing "London Bridge." Even a simple game of peekaboo can become musical theatre when you sing the words out loud. 

  • Share songs that go along with simple hand motions or dance moves, like "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "The Wheels on the Bus," or "Two Little Blackbirds." If you'd like to introduce an instrument, keep it simple.  

  • Let your child make their own music:Very young children will enjoy instruments they can shake — bells, rattles, shakers, tambourines, or rain sticks. As your child gets older and a little more coordinated, try rhythm instruments that can be banged, like drums, cymbals, or xylophones. Your child may also enjoy banging on a drum, piano, or xylophone, but don't take things too seriously at this age. Most children aren't ready to start instrument lessons until they're 5 to 7 years old. 

  • Dance to different kinds of music:  You might even include props such as scarves and ribbons to engage your child’s senses. 

  • Make music a part of your everyday routine: Songs can help your child know what to expect and feel more secure. For instance, if you always sing a lullaby at bedtime or naptime, your child will come to see this as a cue for "go to sleep."