During their first years of life, babies develop an attachment to their parents. Building this bond depends on the quality of the interactions you have with your little one. This includes all non-verbal communication and responding to your baby’s movements, gestures, and sounds. How you enable your child to feel secure will impact on how he interacts, communicates, and builds relationships throughout his life.
During his early years, the kind of emotional and physical care that you provide to your baby will lay a foundation for his future cognitive and socioemotional development. A positive, caring, and stimulating environment promotes a secure attachment between you and your little one. That means that the emotional bond between you two makes him feel safe and promotes an optimal development of his nervous system. It provides him with a healthy self-awareness and foundation to trust others. An insecure attachment fails to provide safety for the child and can result in confusion of their own identity and difficulty building relationships with others.
Musical experiences can play an important role in the brain-building connections for life-long social skills. Research shows that early music-based interactions between parents and their babies provide the parents with insights regarding their baby’s movements. In a study of lullaby singing and babies, mothers reported that singing lullabies facilitated a deeper understanding of their babies’ responses while also enhancing their own feelings associated with motherhood. Lullabies can also help you support your baby’s self-regulation. As you sooth your little one, you’ll foster his ability to sooth himself, preparing him for future skills in managing his emotional state and needs. You can also foster self-regulation in your toddler by dancing to the beat of a song and standing still when the music stops.
Experimenting with music also gives your little one a chance to enhance his self-confidence and self-esteem. As you sing with him try to maintain eye contact and use his name in the songs; notice which songs and rhythms he seems to enjoy most. Encouraging even the simplest of interactions, like shaking a rattle or playing with a tambourine, can make your child feel capable and competent. Remember that your son learns a lot through imitation, so if you teach him how to use an instrument, he’ll learn how to manipulate it himself. This gives you an opportunity to foster taking turns and sharing. Try sharing an instrument or even taking turns repeating sounds back and forth and making music of your own. You’ll not only have lots of fun, but you’ll foster your bond and strengthen your relationship; growing your sense of content and well-being.
Continue reading Part 2 of this article to know more about the impact of music in your child’s socioemotional development.
Learn more on how to foster a secure attachment in your little one here.
For more information on the subject, visit:
- Sing, soothe and sleep: A lullaby education program for first-time mothers
- The use of music therapy to promote attachment between parents and infants
- Infants’ discrimination of happy and sad music
- Beyond Twinkle, Twinkle: Using Music with Infants and Toddlers
- Lullabies and Play Songs
- Harris, M. (2009) Music and the Young mind: Enhancing Brain Development and Engaging learning. The National Association of Music Education