Music can be mood-changing, thought provoking, and even life-changing. The effect it has on us can be felt throughout our whole lives. For years music has had a profound influence on how we think, feel, and behave, so it's safe to say that it influences how we also raise our kids. How many times have you heard an old tune and it reminded you of a time or place in your life and it was like you were instantly transported back in time? Music is powerful and like magic this way.
You can build on natural parenting instincts by learning how to effectively use music to influence your child's cognitive, physical, and social development.
Benefits of Music
Music naturally fosters the development of important social and emotional skills such as self-confidence, socializing, self-regulation, and more. Here's a deeper look.
1. Promotes social skills and social-emotional intelligence
Whether you do it as a family or they do it by themselves, making music pushes children to work with others as a group. It helps them learn the basics of social interactions, such as respecting how other people express themselves, waiting their turn, and respecting personal space. Aside from this, singing together is a great precursor to learning how to collaborate with each other and work as a team.
Research shows that singing together inspires cooperation and helpful behavior in children. The study showed kids who sang together showed greater cohesion and were more social than kids who did not sing together.
2. Fosters empathy
Engaging in musical activities, especially group musical activities, helps kids develop empathy. It allows them to observe and learn subtle cues such as expressiveness and timing. These cues can also be used to read facial expressions and moods. Having the ability to perceive and understand what others are feeling is the foundation of moral development and empathy.
3. Helps with self-regulation
Self-regulation is the ability to pay attention to what matters, ignore distractions, and follow instructions or directions. It also involves impulse control, making good choices in the face of challenges, and responding appropriately, depending on your situation. It is basically the ability to stop, think, and act.
Children often have a hard time controlling their behaviors, emotions, and reactions. Several factors, such as fatigue, anxiety, stress, or changes in their routine, can affect their ability to self-regulate. This, in turn, influences their ability to learn, feel good about themselves and even make friends. This is where music comes in. It's a simple and fun way to support self-regulation development. The rhythmic movement allows the brain to calm down and work things out. This impulse-controlling ability can be quite beneficial when dealing with tantrums or panic attacks.
4. It's a simple language and a great way to learn new things
Music connects to areas in the brain that process sound and emotion. These areas are fully developed at birth, unlike the thinking center, which fully develops anywhere between the mid-to-late 20s. Music, therefore, becomes the conduit through which you communicate with your little one before they can talk. It's a language they can understand and feel through vibration and movement.
Song lyrics are rooted in language. Rhythm and melodies help young ones learn phrases, understand rhythmic patterns and comprehend context.
Before kids learn to talk, they babble and coo; musically mirroring these sounds is a good way to engage with your child and show them you are listening and communicating with them. They discover that you hear them and are following their lead. Adding movement to the mix through dance creates interpersonal synchrony that further deepens the bond between the two of you.
Music connects to the emotional and memory centers of the brain, meaning information or instruction delivered through music is more likely to stick. Think back to when you learned your ABCs. Do you still remember that melody? It's proof that learning through music works. The simplistic nature of the melody and rhythm helps propel learning and retention of what is learned.
5. Helps reduce stress
Music is one of the best stressbusters. Its soothing power and ability to invoke deep emotions can be an effective stress management tool. It might seem odd to think that kids get stressed, but they do. When they are anxious, have a hard time relaxing, cry a lot, or are clingy or aggressive, it could be a hint that they are stressed.
Listening to or making music can be a great way to distract them from a stressful situation and clear their minds. It helps them relax both mind and body and can even boost their moods. Having them sing or listen to their favorite songs while stressed can help lower stress hormone levels preventing adverse effects linked to stress. Research shows that listening to classical music such as Beethoven or Mozart can lower stress hormone levels. It has also been found that listening to rock band music and other modern genres of music may have the same impact.
6. Helps deepen your bond
There's a reason why music is often at the center of every emotional scene. It fosters social bonding. Singing, rhyming, and dancing are fun ways to engage and communicate with each other. It allows for self-expression, which improves communication and responsiveness. That is a reason that kids and adults also wear band shirts and parents dress their babies in rock or heavy metal onesies Right from infancy, engaging in musical activities can help build and cement the bond between you and your little one. As you dance and sing along to the Foo Fighters or Metallica, you are making core memories they will hold dear for the rest of their lives. These precious moments spent sharing your love for your favorite rock music bands create common ground and shared interests.
Knowing the benefits of music on kids, here are a few simple ways to add music to everyday activities.
- Try at-home karaoke sessions. You can go all out and get a karaoke machine or simply cue your favorite songs and sing along.
- Turn bedtime stories into sing-alongs. This is also a fun way to spruce up bedtime.
- If you are going for a long trip, create a playlist you can sing along to while keeping the kids entertained -- playlists are the new mix tapes!
- Teach them songs they can add to their routines, such as when dressing up, brushing their teeth, or helping them remember things.
- Lastly, you can plan a musical outing to a concert.
Kids naturally respond to music, and it has been proven to help them learn and practice important skills such as self-regulation, how to connect socially, develop self-confidence, and more. Music is an essential part of every child's life, and you want to ensure it impacts them positively.
Check out our musical instrument shirts for kids and baby onesies!