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How does music affect your child’s socioemotional development? – Part 2

little boy holding guitar

Key points:
1. Music sparks joy, expression, and emotional learning in children.
2. Musical interactions support toddlers in understanding and articulating emotions.
3. Musical play fosters cooperation and positive interactions with others.
4. Exposure to diverse musical styles promotes cultural awareness and confidence.

In Part 1 of this article we said that exposing your child to music from an early age has a positive effect on his social and emotional abilities in the future.

Findings of a study point out how children respond to music with joy and how this facilitates their expression and learning. Listening and singing about feelings also help toddlers identify the words that correspond to certain emotions. Clapping and singing to the song “If you’re happy and you know it” evokes feelings, even when there are no lyrics to the music. Studies examining 3-9 months babies show that, even at that age, babies can discriminate between happy and sad music and how this fosters social and communicative development. As music enables different emotions, it also provides the opportunity for children to be in touch with their feelings and, later, with the feelings of others.

As you encourage your child to explore with sounds, pitches, tones, and rhythms; they’ll create their own music experiences. Making it a team effort and inviting other family members or friends to join also gives your child an opportunity to cooperate and build relationships. Create a family parade in which everyone adds a sound or voice into the performance. These experiences foster parallel playing, positive interactions, and team effort which lay the basis for future friendships and relationships.


Listening to music, dancing to the beat of a song, or experimenting with musical instruments enable children to experience free expression and learn about themselves and their environment. Playing songs from different cultures can also open up your child to develop a cultural awareness and validate the importance of where they come from. Getting to know the different styles, rhythms, and melodies exposes them to other peoples’ experiences and nurtures their feelings of confidence and belonging to a culture.

Cross-cultural studies continue to confirm that music is universal. All societies possess a distinct musical genre dedicated to children; whether is lullabies, humming, play songs, or parental singing. Music has been shown to have a positive effect on a child’s development. Parental singing has been shown to increase tolerance and the joy of the parents, fostering the closeness in the parent-child dyad and the optimal development of the baby. Incorporating music to the interaction between you and your little one will have an impact on their socio-emotional development and lay the foundation for future relationships.

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