During their first years, home is the place where your child is going to spend most of their time. So, the best thing you can do is turn this space into the most enriching environment to promote their growing sets of skills.
Music has been known to support your child’s development in multiple domains. We’ve previously talked about the effects it has on cognitive, physical, linguistic, and social-emotional development. Research shows that a musical environment helps you experience more positive emotions and lowers your stress hormone levels. It has also been proven to be beneficial for people with serious illness, pain, and depression.
Using music for positive experiences has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient philosophers such as Plato and the kings of Israel used to sing to soothe stress. Military bands used music to build confidence and show courage, and sports events provide music to promote enthusiasm from the crowds. You even hear music in the waiting room of the dentist or doctor in order to soothe your nerves. At school settings today, it’s used for learning and better recalling. In neuropsychiatric treatment it has been shown to influence positively on the mood of the patients by evoking pleasant memories. It’s safe to say that music has an effect on almost everyone, even babies as little as 4 months old have shown to be able to distinguish between different tones.
Turning your home into a musical environment can help foster positive emotions, creativity, and motivation for learning. It can also turn your place into a rich and fun environment for the whole family to spend time in. How can you do this?
- Whenever possible, play music. Switch screen time to listening to music. Play music while you cook and your little one plays, play fun tunes to dance and release some energy. Calming music can also sooth the environment for a more quiet and relaxed time.
- Experiment with all kinds of music. Yes, it’s been shown that some kinds of music make us feel better than others, but there’s also no evidence backing up the Mozart effect. So, your child may benefit from other genres other than classical music. Instead of thinking about the genre of the music, think of the activity or feelings you want to foster on your little one and discover what their preferences are.
- Encourage them to explore the sounds toys make (rattle, shaker, piano, banging to objects together). All of these introduce them to different sounds and enrich their experiences.
- Use music as a reward as opposed to screen time or sweets.
- Enhance your child’s attention incorporating music and songs when learning new concepts.
- Make time for family activities with music. It can be something as simple as grabbing containers and wooden spoons to make some tunes while fixing dinner.
- Make music an active element of activities. While it’s nice to have music in the background, it’s also important to interact with it. Practice listening to music and scribbling, see what kind of drawings you’re inspired to draw.
- Spark conversations about how the music makes you feel. Does it make you feel happy? Does it evoke a memory? Does it make you want to jump up and down?
- Introduce your child to different music instruments and the sound they make. You don’t have to have actual instruments, you can also do it with printouts or homemade materials.
- Play games. Try out a charade’s night! Pick a card and make the sound of that instrument so everyone can guess what you are playing.
Music is one of life’s most wonderful experiences and it can bring happiness to everyone around. Share the importance of music with your little one and make it fun for them to experiment with different songs, rhythms, and dance moves. Make your home the perfect place for sharing joy and promoting your child’s development!
Learn more about the benefits of music here.
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