Music can play an important role in your child’s growth, even before birth. Exposing your child to music ignites all areas of child development. And doing this early can help ensure that your baby grows up healthy.
What effect does music have on babies in the womb?
It is proven that music has a role in brain development before birth. Listening to music during pregnancy will not only have a soothing and uplifting effect on the pregnant woman, but also a positive influence on the unborn baby. Around 16-18 weeks of pregnancy, the little one hears its very first sound.
By 24 weeks, the little ears start to develop rapidly and babies have been shown to turn their heads in response to voices and noise in the last few months of pregnancy, an unborn baby can recognize her mother’s voice, her native language, word patterns and rhymes.
How music affects your baby’s brain
Baby’s brain is constantly developing and making new neural connections. So many things around them can have a positive impact on their development—including, as some researchers believe, music!
So, why is music so impactful? We know that music engages many regions of the brain at once. It is also an important part of many play, social-emotional, communication, and sensory experiences, and can possibly strengthen those experiences. Here are some more ways music may have an important impact on your child:
Music experiences promote predictability and enjoyment
Music naturally creates a social, playful mood, which is the best learning environment for your little one. Not only will baby have fun in these surroundings, but music will also create a sense of predictability. This is because after hearing a song repeatedly, children will begin to know what to expect, when to dance, and how to sing along. Using music as a part of a routine can further help to create a sense of predictability, reduce anxiety and help with executive function development.
Children’s music activities naturally use different senses and skills
Children don’t just listen to music – they sing, they use facial expressions, they make physical gestures, they get moving! This means that the impact of music is much more than sensory – it’s also using motor, communication, and play skills.
Music promotes bonding
Not only does music promote socializing and play, but dancing and playing together supports moving together with the rhythm, which in turn promotes bonding. This is especially powerful if the parents, caregivers, or siblings are performing music together, as a shared goal leads to bonding as a group.
Singing to infants captures and keeps their attention
They’ll naturally be drawn to the source of the singing, so it can be a great tool if you have time with your little one. This also helps get baby’s attention, so babies are more open to learning when music is involved.
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Pathways.org. 2021. How Music Helps Baby’s Brain Develop | Track Baby Learning. [online] Available at: <https://pathways.org/music-and-babys-brain/> [Accessed 8 January 2021].
Unicef.org. 2021. How Music Affects Your Baby’S Brain: Mini Parenting Master Class. [online] Available at: <https://www.unicef.org/parenting/child-development/how-music-affects-your-babys-brain-class> [Accessed 8 January 2021].