Interacting with babies from gestation is fundamental for healthy development and also for strengthening the bond between adults and children. And when we talk about interaction, it is worth reading, singing, listening to music, talking and, above all, dancing with the little ones! After all, through dance, we can express emotions and feelings, exercise creativity and experience different rhythms. Do you want to know more about the importance of dancing with babies? Keep reading.
How to create bonds with the baby?
During pregnancy and also in the puerperium, the contact between fathers, mothers, and caretakers with the baby happens by means of communication and many gestures. These intentional talks, caresses, daily conversations, and moments of shared reading generate good feelings and transmit a feeling of tranquility and security to the little ones.
In fact, research shows that the more receptive and connected parents are to this experience, the better the birth, post-partum recovery and, consequently, the bond with the newborn will be. Incredible, isn’t it?
Some studies show how the adults’ good relationship with the baby still during intrauterine life is important for the child’s health. According to her, the mother’s attitudes and also her feelings can influence the baby’s emotional health, for instance.
Thus, the bond established between adults and the baby is an essential component and acts as a source of affection. Among the possible ways of experiencing and attributing affective meanings to maternal experiences, as well as providing the strengthening of the bond with the little ones, is the dance with baby!
Dancing with baby: Strengthening the bond through music and the body
Whether during pregnancy or with your baby in your arms, dancing is a fun and pleasurable activity that brings numerous benefits. Especially when dancing in a free and liberating way!
Dancing promotes movement, establishes harmony, and brings lightness and balance, especially during periods of intense adaptations. Furthermore, in the dance with the baby, both adult and child experience new possibilities, so different from the postures of welcome and withdrawal that are usually characteristic of the puerperium.
Dancing with babies also stimulates the development of motor skills in children and strengthens the body and mind. Furthermore, dancing brings encouragement and provides moments of joy and relaxation.
Thus, dancing with babies allows the coming and going of feelings and emotions. It takes away anguish and sorrow and brings with it hope, pleasure, and delicacy. Dancing, putting fears and fears in abeyance, make room for contemplation. Dancing to the rhythm of each family dynamic!
How to dance with your baby?
In the first moment, especially during pregnancy, it is worth putting on some cheerful music or singing songs that promote positive sensations in the mother. And, consequently, in the baby. Play, move around, turn around, smile, and open your body. Then, choose a calmer, more relaxing harmony to rock and lull your baby to sleep. Feel the internal pulsing of motherhood!
Another suggestion is to also invite the child’s father to this moment, as well as other friends, relatives and people important to you. The concentration and the quality of presence strengthen the bonds and provide a unique moment within the baby’s care routine, which is naturally tiring. After all, dance enables fluidity in the expression of emotions through the inspiration of songs, body movements, and feelings experienced. It is, therefore, a special moment for the whole family!
The benefits of dancing, for little bodies and brains
Through dance, children learn to coordinate and control their bodies and the movement helps them develop spatial awareness. If children are copying an adult or learning a set dance such as ‘the chicken dance’, their listening and understanding skills will be improved.
- Dancing provides stimulation to very special nerve endings called vestibular receptors. The vestibular system is centered in the inner ear and almost any movement will stimulate the brain via these nerve endings. A well-modulated vestibular system is a crucial foundation building block for all learning.
- Each time you dance with your baby, the vestibular/balance sensors in the ear send messages to the brain about its location – up, down, sideways, and forward, backward or central. This vestibular stimulation is essential for the development of good balance, coordination, and posture.
- The stimulation your baby receives during dance also helps the development of muscle tone, space and body awareness, vision, hearing, and touch as your baby is moved gently through different positions.
- Dance helps your baby to develop a good sense of rhythm, form, time, and flow. Your babe-in-arms will internalise the rhythmic movements and continue developing the understanding of a steady beat, the underlying, unchanging, repeating steady pulse he would have heard during pregnancy. (Refer to our article in this magazine for the importance of beat and developing a good sense of rhythm).
- When dancing while holding your baby, you are replicating vestibular stimulation he would have experienced in utero – the rocking and swaying. This helps to calm your baby, helps him feel secure, and provides many lovely parent/baby bonding opportunities.
- Dance allows for imitation, repetition, coordination, and exploration of movement to the rhythm, mood, and feeling of the music.
- Dances and songs provide opportunities for memory training and coordination, even at this early stage!