There are many types of music out there that might be good for babies.
We’ve always known that music has a powerful, transformative and unifying effect on people. But only now do we know that music contributes to better memory and cognitive skills.
Music is all around rewarding us in so many ways. At one end of the scale, music is energising. At the other end of the scale, it can help to calm the most stressful situation.
Music plays an essential role in all aspects of a child’s development. It’s now clear that babies in the womb respond to music.
Once a baby is born, music can help the process of bonding. As your child grows, music plays an integral part in games and other activities and the learning that these can provide.
We know that adults nurture the development of their children and the children they care for by responding to their needs, and when a child is enjoying him or herself and having fun, they will be learning. Check out My Baby Nursery for all your baby product needs.
For music to influence children, all that’s needed is for it to be played. Then just sit back and enjoy it, and relax in the knowledge that you’re doing your best for your children.
What Kind of Music Is Good for Babies?
Experts contend that just as babies don’t discriminate between languages until around six months of age, they also aren’t picky about music.
By 10 to 12 months, babies start to prefer the tunes that Mom and Dad enjoy.
If you like to jam out to jazz while you’re cooking dinner or get dressed to rap in the morning, those are the tunes your baby will be most accustomed to hearing.
It can also be beneficial to change it up a bit so that the little brain can process different sounds and rhythms.
But for the most part, it’s not the kind of music you listen to that matters as much as your baby actively participating in the music-making process.
Dancing to simple baby and toddler tunes like the “Hokey Pokey” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” isn’t just fun. It helps infants and toddlers with balance, coordination and fine motor skills.
Dancing increases self-expression, self-confidence, spatial perception and body awareness.
Singing tunes like “Old MacDonald” and “The Wheels on the Bus” can expose your baby to a whole range of new words.
Whether you’re grooving to toddler tunes, playing a mini tambourine or just singing along with the radio, let your baby’s inner musician shine!
What Effect Does Classical Music Have on Babies?
Newer research has debunked the “Mozart Effect,” claiming that babies who listen to classical music consistently end up wiser.
But while this has proven not to be the case, listening to classical music with your little one does have some benefits, like helping cultivate an appreciation for it later in life and setting it up as an excellent soothing mechanism.
Classical Music Aids Development of the Baby in the Wombs
It’s established that when a baby is in the womb and is exposed to music, they can remember this music after they are born.
Studies suggest that playing music to a baby in the womb and early childhood years helps brain development.
Some believe that exposure to music whilst in the womb also contributes to increased intellectual ability.
However, others question this, and the subject remains controversial.
Playing music to your unborn child is certainly not a bad thing, so there’s nothing to lose from having the radio or your favourite CD playing classical music.
There’s everything to gain.
Listening to Classical Music Is a Good Baby Calming Technique
Lullabies and other tunes have been played to children for many years to lull them to sleep or to simply slow things down a little.
Listening to music is a good baby calming technique, whether you are rocking your baby in your arms or swaying to the rhythm.
It’s soothing and an excellent way to bond and interact with your child.
Hearing a familiar piece of music can also be very reassuring for a child when, for example, they find themselves in a new environment.
Calming music, such as Stargazer by Patrick Hawes and Beethoven’s Romance No. 2, can help a child concentrate during storytime and quiet playtime.
It can also be used during mealtimes to help food find its way into the mouth rather than elsewhere.
If fighting or squabbling over a favourite toy looks like turning nasty, a dose of music can help avoid potential bloodshed and tears.
When a tumble has already occurred, music will help calm and distract a screaming child from the scrape or cut whilst it’s cleaned and dressed.
Much scientific research has identified that pain and other distressing symptoms can be reduced and kept at bay with the help of music since listening to music promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing and feel-good chemicals.
Classical Music Can Help Your Baby Get to Sleep
After a fun and tiring day comes the need for sleep, often the greatest challenge of the day for many families.
It’s when you need tactics, skill, luck, and a helping hand if you’re to help your baby get to sleep.
This is where soft, gentle, and comforting music such as Bach’s Cantata No. 156 – Sinfonia shows its genius.
Throughout the day, music can play a positive role in enabling a child to become aware of the time of day and can help both the child and their carer maintain, or create, a routine.
And we all know how important routine is, mainly when it’s time for bed.
Slower pieces work best for bedtime and for helping to calm things down during rest-time in the day.
Lullabies, for example, Brahms’s Lullaby, and other tunes have been played to children for many years to lull them to sleep or simply slow things down a little.
This kind of music helps soothe children too and can be very reassuring for them. We have the best range of baby nursery blankets to keep your baby just right day and night.
Classical Music Is an Ideal Relaxing Agent for New Mums and Dads
Classical music plays a crucial role in helping us to relax, which is why it’s played in shops, hospitals, and whilst we sit in the dentist’s chair.
Looking after children is fun, but it’s exhausting too, and a few minutes always break welcome.
Classical music is an ideal relaxing agent for new mums and dads and those more experienced parents.
It can distract us from everyday stresses and quickly take us to a calmer place where we can gather our thoughts and energy in preparation for the next challenge we face.
In this respect, it’s far better to nip outside and listen to John Brunning’s Pie Jesu than to light up a cigarette when the children are driving you to distraction!
Classical Music Can Help in the Development of Newborn Babies and Toddlers
There’s plenty of research showing how classical music has a stimulating effect on the body and mind, which can lead to improved physical and emotional health and can help the development of newborn babies and toddlers.
Listening to cheerful music can stimulate antibody production, the chemicals that fight infection.
Therefore, it may be wise to play cheerful music, for example, Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals – Finale, when coughs and colds are circulating.
Research performed in nurseries has found that music played in the background can help preschool children to have more positive and better social interactions.
Research has also identified that playing background music within a classroom environment helps children perform spatial skills better – these include paper cutting, folding, and intricate puzzles.
This musical accompaniment also improves attention span and concentration, enabling children to answer more questions correctly.
Many believe the development of newborn babies can benefit similarly. The music played to achieve this needs to have a moderate tempo, such as that found in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro Overture.
With regards to overall health and wellbeing, music has a tremendous role to play.
Lively music with a good rhythm helps develop newborn babies, toddlers and preschoolers by encouraging movement, which is how children learn and perfect their motor skills.
It’s fun to listen to, helps them learn about the world, and makes them feel happy too.
The Mozart Effect: Can Classical Music Boost Your Child’s IQ?
Mention Mozart and children in the same sentence, and invariably the response will be “ah yes, the Mozart Effect”.
This originated from a small study that concluded listening to only ten minutes of a Mozart piano sonata (Sonata for Two Pianos in D major) temporarily raised the “abstract reasoning” ability of 36 college students to the equivalent of 8 to 9 points on a standard IQ scale.
Since that time, those caring for children have taken every opportunity to use this theory to promote their children’s mental ability.
In research circles, however, the Mozart effect is not so clear-cut and remains controversial.
The reason for this being that other scientists have not been able to reproduce the findings of this initial research, and replication of the study is essential if it is to be adequately established as fact.
However, the possibility that Mozart’s music can boost IQ has gained tremendous support and is still practised and talked about.
However, outside the research environment, what’s important is if something might help and doesn’t harm, and those caring for children are not being misled, why not give it a go?
Why not give Mozart a chance to vie with children’s shrieks.
It’s not just Mozart that may help. Beethoven, Schubert, and Bach, amongst others, may affect too.
After all, classical music should first be for pleasure and enjoyment; anything else it brings should be seen as a bonus.
Beyond the Mozart Effect
Music is an essential part of us. It gives joy, connection and togetherness. When babies are exposed to music, they are more likely to want to make their own as they grow.
At the very least, early exposure to sounds they can appreciate helps babies grow aesthetically so they can understand all arts that touch the human spirit.
Here are a few more reasons to make the right music a big part of your baby’s life from day one:
- Music helps build the whole brain. That’s because listening to music involves both hemispheres at once and so exercises the part of the brain that deals with language and the amount that processes numbers.
- Music may help with memorisation, which helps with reading. Songs and rhyming lines are commonly used to promote a healthy memory in people of all ages.
- Music can help develop a sense of rhythm – especially when it involves chanting, clapping or dancing.
- Enjoying music together helps you and your baby bond – of course, that’s true of any activity you both enjoy.
- Music changes moods. If she’s cranky, singing a silly song could put a smile on your baby’s face.
- Music can be calming. If it’s near bedtime, a lullaby can lull a fretful baby to dreamland. You can buy or download a rich selection of American and lullabies from all over the world, but the ones sung by Mom or Dad are the best.
Listening to Music Vs Playing Music
While listening to music impacts the brain, making music is even more powerful. This is because making music requires fine motor skills (such as being able to grip and squeeze objects) and linguistic and mathematical precision and creativity ─ firing up several areas of the brain.
Tapping into these skills means developing the bridge between the brain’s two hemispheres, which allows messages to get across the brain faster and across different routes.
Add Music to Playtime
- Sing to your baby! Any song will work. It’s not about the words; it’s about Baby hearing your lilting voice. Don’t worry if you’re not musically inclined or don’t know all the words to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” – your little one won’t judge you.
- Turn on the radio and dance with the baby in your arms.
- Keep a radio, mp3 or CD player in the baby’s room so that music is available at any time of day.
- Bang away on pots, pans, boxes and any other upside-down containers that can become drums. Turn on some music and show her how to beat out the rhythm if your baby’s already sitting up.
- Buy musical toys. Rhythm sticks, shakers, bells and a xylophone are excellent options.
- Introduce babies to songs with rhythmic chants and hand gestures like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Pat-A-Cake”, and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” An older sibling can have fun joining in.
Should You Try Baby Music Classes?
The short answer is yes!
Music classes are an excellent way for your little one to participate in making music and, in turn, benefit his cognitive development.
Baby music classes can start as early as six months. During the first years of life, the brain is forming the network pathways that later impact language.
Music classes help babies and toddlers learn to synchronise a beat, which has been shown to improve executive function — a set of mental skills associated with attention, focus, memory and organisation.
When it comes to choosing music classes, here are some tips to consider:
Choose Smaller Classes.
The smaller the class, the less chaotic and more focused it is on making music. In a big class, you’re more likely to be chasing your little one around than watching him participate.
Keep it Short.
Think 45 minutes or an hour tops in terms of timing, or you’ll be more likely to hear your tot wailing than you will any musical beats.
Get Your Groove On.
Classes should incorporate lots of movement because babies and toddlers just can’t sit still. What’s more, you should have an easy out just in case your little angel starts to melt down.
Keep it Fun.
The focus should always be on having fun rather than playing the perfect concerto.
Make Music at Home.
Let your baby or toddler get his inner musician on at home too. Bring out the drums, tambourines, maracas and xylophones!
How Loudly Should You Play Music for Your Baby?
While music can be magical to a baby’s ears, louder is not better.
Babies’ ears are ultra-sensitive because their ear canals are smaller than adults, which increases pressure and can make them more susceptible to hearing damage early on.
Hearing loss is a real thing, and it’s often irreversible. That means that the baby doesn’t belong at rock concerts or super loud sporting events.
While once or twice isn’t going to ruin your little one’s hearing, over time, music or other sounds that are too loud can do significant harm.
If you do happen to go to a concert with your baby (and the best bet is to leave him at home with a grandparent or sitter), make sure to safeguard his hearing with some protective earmuffs.
And at home, keep the volume in check. An easy rule of thumb is that if you can’t talk over the music, then the sound is too loud for your baby.
The Benefits of Music for Your Child
When young children are exposed to music, their brains change. Among other benefits, music can:
- Improve moods and empower young children by reducing stress levels. Even listening to sad music can be good thanks to its cathartic power, making it easier for children to get in touch with their emotions.
- Stimulate the formation of brain chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin. When these are released, children are encouraged to share toys, empathise and trust others.
- Boost concentration skills and productivity.
- Improve learning and grades.
- Develop spatial intelligence – laying the ground for an interest in mathematics, engineering, computer science and architecture.
- Improve vocabulary and creativity.
- The benefits of music can be experienced in many forms. Listen to a song, play an instrument, pick up anything in the classroom or at home, and make music with it! Now that we know the science of music, it’s time to put a soundtrack to children’s early years.
No matter how you choose to incorporate music into your baby’s life, be sure that making music is part of his playtime and listening to it is part of his regular ritual — not because you want to make your child the smartest in the class but because it’s soothing, fun and a great way to bond. The fact that it also can give his cognitive development a little boost is a bonus! My Baby Nursery has a wide range of baby nursery playpens for your little baby.