Someone wise once said that music is the strongest form of magic. I concur with that and add that it is undoubtedly one of the best gifts we can ever give to our children. Music helps children learn.It helps in their social, emotional, physical, cognitive and linguistic development. This article is first in a three part series dedicated to music. Make sure to catch up with the other two which will follow soon – “What Exactly Is Good Music For Babies & Toddlers” & “Ways To Introduce Music To Babies & Toddlers”.
So let's quickly get on to the awesome benefits you can pass on to your child when you expose them to good music. I will also share tidbits about how I enjoy music with my 17 months old son and how it has helped us in our journey so far.
1. Rich Sensory Input: Good music has powerful sounds that create beautiful & interesting neural connections in the child's brain which help them later in grasping soft skills and academics. We all know zero to three is the age when the toddler brain is busy making tons of neural pathways that serve as building blocks for their future. I try to play a variety of music to my son like Indian classical, Sufi, mantras, prayers, old Bollywood, instrumentals and traditional rhymes and he loves it.
2. Calming Agent: With so much talk about music therapies going on out there, it’s a known fact that good music always calms a soul down, including that of a child's. Which means you have one sure shot tool now to handle those cranky meltdowns, if music is in the routine of your child. Right after my son's birth, I magically pacified him with the music that he had been listening to when he was in my tummy.
3. Sets A Routine: A routine helps in creating predictability in a child's life. You can play certain music for mornings & nights, for outings, for different seasons etc. My son knows it's night time and time to sleep when I play my night time tracks. He wakes up fresh and happy in the morning when those particular morning mantras are being played.
4. Learning A Sense of Rhythm: Music teaches rhythm which is very important in life as every small process in our day-to-day lives has a rhythm in it, in a metaphysical sense of the term.
5. Motor Skills Development: As your little one moves around and dances to her favorite beats, she develops both gross and fine motor skills. I giggle when my son does twinkle twinkle using his tiny hands, plays tabla using both hands together, or moves around in a circle on his favorite tracks. It really gets him moving and grooving.
6. Vocabulary Building: Nothing can be more enjoyable for enhancing the vocabulary of your little one than music. It’s better than flashcards, for it’s super fun, highly interactive and focussed on active learning. To give an example, while showing my son a figurine of an elephant, I would sing along his favorite elephant rhyme and instantly he would learn and relate where is the trunk, tail and ears of an elephant.
.7. Multicultural Exposure: Giving your kids exposure to music of various regions/countries serves as a first step in introducing them to different cultures which broadens their horizons and in the long run, helps in evolving them into an open-minded and embracing personality, I play Spanish & Sufi music to my son and he enjoys them equally.
8. Bonding Time: A short burst of musical activity together with your child can create beautiful memories and help in bonding. So go ahead, get crazy with your child while an awesome track plays in the background. I often recite some tabla bols & he tries his hands on the tabla, and when I recite the same tabla bols while waiting in a restaurant for food, my son cheerfully bangs the table imitating himself on the tabla. Thus, I am constantly creating beautiful memories with him to cherish forever.
So don’t wait or hesitate. Buy or download some good stuff today, plan your day with what you want to play to your child, and experience joy, bonding, smiles, hugs and lots of dance! If you are pregnant, you can start right away by simply listening to music yourself. Get your family soaked in music and experience the difference!