Music is a powerful tool. It can trigger emotions, memory, and various senses in adults. If you think back to songs that have a powerful effect on you, perhaps from your wedding, your youth, or even lullabies from your childhood, so much history will come back to you. Can you remember what you were wearing? What someone smelled like? How you felt in those moments? It seems like no matter how much time passes, when you hear a song from your past, you feel like you are still in those moments! If these effects are so powerful on adults, what effects of music are there on child development?
How early can you introduce music to positively effect child development?
One of the most remarkable things, is babies can actually recognize their mothers voice in the womb during the third trimester. After birth, their voice almost immediately will be able to calm a newborn baby. It makes sense that music will also have an effect on child development in the womb. If we think about how babies react to voices, high pitch voices tend to have a more positive reaction in babies than lower and deeper voices (female vs. male). This is the basic introduction of pitches and tones for babies to decipher between. The best music for our babies in the womb are soothing tones. Think classical music, lullabies, and anything gently designed to create happiness. All music should be below 50 decibels.
There are two major effects of music for positive child development in the womb:
- Help improve babies reflexes: When listening to music in the womb, your baby can hear vibrations, and may move along with them. The more active your baby is in the womb, the greater chance to improve reflexes and strength out of the womb. Moving is good! Let’s get those babies dancing!
- Help improve babies senses: The most fun activity for your baby in the womb is listening! Listening to your voice, and other sounds helps your baby concentrate and focus. Helping your baby concentrate and focus in the womb, is helping with mental simulation. This music has a direct effect to child development out of the womb! Some studies even show that playing a song for your baby in the womb, can help lull them to sleep when they are newborns.
What are the effects of music on child development during the newborn and toddler stages?
As your little one grows the introduction of various types of music continues to help with child development. One of the largest effects of music on child development is the way it impacts our brain circuits. All of those circuits are connected to things like empathy, trust, and cooperation. Music helps build emotionally intelligent children.
There are so many more amazing benefits. Here are the top 5 effects of music on child development:
- Improve overall mood: Listening to happy music releases dopamine. This can change a baby from sad and cranky, to silly and dancing!
- Relaxation and calming: When we sing lullabies to our babies to help soothe them, we are helping our babies understand and manage their emotional state. This is the beginning of babies learning to self soothe. Don’t forget to check out the best products to help your little one sleep!
- Creativity and Memory: Music helps babies remember things as early as 3 months old. The repetition from songs can help teach lessons to your little one. Music also helps stimulate the creative part of your brain with the range of pitches and sounds.
- School readiness (mathematics, language, and reading): There is an extremely close connection between music and linguistic development. Both of these skills require babies to understand the difference in certain auditory sounds. Music helps improve this skill. Music can even help understand mathematical concepts!
- Socializing and expression: Babies as young as 5 months can differentiate between sad and happy songs. This allows babies to understand their basic emotions early on. Understanding different emotional feelings from music, helps babies understand different moods in other people. Music also helps babies understand their feelings too!
Have fun, relax, and dance!
There are clearly some major effects of music on child development. The biggest thing to focus on is play a lot of music, dance, and just have fun! When your baby sees you being silly, and having fun, they will too. Your baby will do the funniest things! Depending on what mood you are going for, or what your larger goals are for child development, focus on the right music for the right time. You will want to listen to soothing and relaxing tones, for calming and sleep time. Complex sounds and changing tones like Mozart or the blues, for stimulating the brain. Lastly, happy dancing tunes, for letting loose and laughing!
As long as you are connecting with your little one, you are doing things just right! Have fun with it Mama. Learn as they learn!