We all know that kids love music and dance. But when you think about the benefits of music for young children, you will realize that you are ‘ticking more boxes’ for education in the house than you thought!
Whether it’s in the car, on the radio or like in our house, ‘disco time’ before the evening bath, listening to music does have many benefits including:
Movement and exercise
If there is a beat, most kids can’t resist the temptation to boogie. Whether it is bobbing up and down or the classic jumping toddler dance move, active kids are happy ones and expelling a little energy in a contained environment is always a good thing!
Exploration of emotion & creative expression
Even at an early age, children can interpret sounds to represent feelings. Listen out for the style of music and dance with your child accordingly. For example, if the music is loud and fast, you can jump or run on the spot. If it is soft and slow, you can tiptoe or sway your arms around.
Development of language and memory
Learning is made easier when put to a tune or melody. Take for example, the alphabet song – 26 letters for a toddler to rote learn is quite a challenge! But with the addition of music it suddenly becomes great fun. There are also many kids songs that are a great way to teach other pieces of information, such as colors, numbers and animals.
When we listen to music, most people inadvertently sing along – so when children to this, they discover new words (it’s important, especially if your child is a quick learner, to monitor the music they listen to. Some songs are quite explicit and may not be age appropriate for toddlers).
Exposing children to different types of music at an early age will give them an appreciation of many styles of music. Get your hands on some classical, rock, dance, pop music – whatever you can find and every now and then, play a few songs. It might be a good break for your sanity too if your child enjoys mainly ‘kiddie’ songs!
When our daughter was only 18 months old, we would play Pavarotti for her. She listened to it first, and always tried to sing along (although her Italian wasn’t so great). Then we showed her some Pavarotti concerts on YouTube and she would sit and watch him sing, fascinated. I think it was the intensity with which he sang and the powerful music that made her feel the emotion in his performance.
Music is such a wonderful form of entertainment for all walks of life. And, regardless of age, the benefits of music are invaluable!
For ideas on musical instruments for kids, click here.