Who doesn’t love music? It can lift our mood, it can calm us down, it can release tension when we sing our hearts out to our favourite song. And it’s no different for children and babies who from day 1 have rocked and swayed inside you to the beat of your heart. So whether you’re an accomplished musician or don’t have a musical bone in your body, Baby Beats music classes have come up with 5 easy ways to encourage your child’s development the most natural way in the world.
1. Attending a weekly music class with your child is a great place to start! Babies who attend a weekly interactive music class smile more, are easier to soothe, and show less distress than children who just passively listen to music. Children also show better early communication skills and more sophisticated brain responses to music – including noticing out of key notes in a piece of music! Baby Beats run weekly music classes in South Cheshire and North Staffordshire so visit our classes page to find one near you.
2. Dance with your baby! Dancing has a calming effect on babies, simulating the rhythmic, rocking sensation they experienced inside your womb. But dancing with your baby stimulates the vestibular system which controls balance developing their understanding of gravity, co-ordination and posture and will provide them with physical confidence and security in the world. Of course you need music to dance to, and babies will love hearing the steady beat of the music just like your heartbeat. The vestibular system also responds to sound allowing a subconscious effect of moving to the beat and over time will help develop a good sense of rhythm and time. There are the added benefits for you too of closeness and bonding, exercise, and fun!
3. Sing face to face with your baby so they can see your lips moving. I often recommend at Baby Beats that you site wit your baby facing you so they can see you – this will also reassure them that you are there and result in less tears! They will recognize your face, watch your expressions and make eye contact helping them learn communication skills. Over time they learn actions and imitate you, and you can spot this more easily if they face you and give them encouragement. Watch for them joining in by rocking, swaying, copying actions and clapping long before they can sing along.
4. Every sound a baby hears helps them understand the world around them. Encouraging early listening to a variety of sounds helps them decode words and sounds, identify voices, distinguish words and use tone to understand meaning. So before they can talk they can fully understand what you are saying and differentiate talking from song. By experimenting and exploring making sound themselves, babies and children build up their knowledge of what the world sounds like until they can recognize sounds when the source is not present. Building on this foundation with songs about familiar topics such as daily routines, transport, animals, days out etc. will further help them explore their environment.
5. Nursery rhymes are a great way for your child to learn! Rhymes help children to learn new words and the rhythm and repetition make them easy to remember. Many rhymes have actions so invite learning opportunities through movement which is very stimulating for the brain. The other bonus is that you probably know them all off by heart too, as will everyone else your baby meets. The fact that they are so widely sung at baby groups will have a great social impact on your child, making them feel included and helping them to connect with other children.