Help your baby learn to love music by making it a part of your family’s daily life
From lullabies to rock and roll, we are born with a natural appreciation of music. It’s a good thing that we have this shared interest because listening to music has benefits that reach far beyond its availability as an easily accessible form of entertainment; it also aids in brain development, making it particularly valuable to growing infants. Learn how music can help you and your baby, and easy ways to incorporate it into your days.
Music is a natural choice as you search for new sensory experiences for your infant to explore since babies have a well-developed sense of hearing and visibly react to sounds. Research shows that musical activities are more than just a fun bonding opportunity and contribute to infant development in many different areas.
So, sharing music with your baby doesn’t just feel good – it’s good for them, too. Make music an important part of your life with your baby with the following tips and tricks.
Enjoy it: Don’t feel trapped by lullabies and nursery songs (although both are good for babies), play music that you like to hear, too. Start up your favorite playlist while cooking or folding laundry and share the songs that make you happy. Babies love to watch exaggerated movements, expressions, and sounds, so rock on for your little audience. Sing along, dance, and show off your enthusiasm for music.
Move to the beat: Research shows that learning about rhythm helps refine cognitive development, including language skills in infants. Tap out the beat while you listen to music with baby, or hold them as you bounce or dance. Gently clap their hands or feet together, or play musical games like Itsy Bitsy Spider with hand movements.
Make music: Babies love to explore cause and effect, and making music is a great place to start. Set out buckets, pots, pans, wooden or plastic spoons, and a tightly sealed container with loose beans inside and let your baby become a one-man band. Get involved by playing along or applauding their efforts.
Attend events: Whether it’s a live performance at the park or a baby-based music class, take your baby to events where they can associate music with the fun social activity it can be. Public events can help expose your baby to a variety of music types, places, and people in a way that can enhance social skills and self-confidence. It’s also a fun outing for parents, as well!
When it comes to deciding what kind of music to play for your baby, the sky’s the limit. Expose your child to a wide range of styles based on the mood or activity and see what connects the most.
- Classical music is ideal for creating a calming atmosphere at bedtime while exposing your child to great works of art that have been time-tested and approved across continents and generations.
- Children’s music has evolved significantly, and is often fun for adults to listen to as well these days — check out popular options on YouTube to create a playlist of favorites.
- When you’re in need of some personal enjoyment, break out your own favorites; everything from The Beatles to Lady Gaga can create a unique reaction and ongoing interest from your infant.
There’s no doubt that bonding experiences are important to a baby’s growth and well-being, and music is a great tool to share a common interest and spend time on an activity together. The fact that music also boosts brain development is just an added bonus. Make music a regular part of your family life and reap the rewards.
The Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network helps improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers through extensive resources, services, and education for caregivers. Learn more about how we can help you improve the standard of care.