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Developmental effects of music on young children

Regardless of their age, music is an integral part of children’s lives. The more they are exposed to it, the better their overall development.  

Julia, aged 2, is she too young to learn music? Noah, 5 months old, can he appreciate listening to music?

Even before birth and during his early years, a baby likes to feel, discover and make sounds. The exploration of noises, sounds and music is the foundation of his future communication with his parents and everyone around him. At two years old, he is generally too young to learn music (music theory, rhythmic figures, etc.) but it is a good idea to use every single opportunity to create a special moment with your child in order to build better communication and a parent/child bond.

The benefits of music in children

The benefits of incorporating music into the lives of children are many. Musical awakening helps relaxing, listening, it helps motor coordination, intellectual skills and developing verbal, social and affective languages. What else can we ask for?  A child who has been in contact with music, and therefore stimulated by it will find it easier to adapt to his environment when he will begin school because he will have practiced listening, concentrating and using his curiosity.

There’s no need to be a musician, playing Beethoven’s sonatas or singing excessively complex tunes to your children to include music in your relationship. For example, simply hearing the voice of his mother humming a lullaby or his father whispering softly simple sentences and loving words soothes and reassures a baby. The human voice is the most appealing element for a child, even more so than recorded music or elaborated instruments.

The importance of your voice: songs and nursery rhymes

The basic caretaking of a child occupies most of the day so it’s easy to use these moments to introduce nursery rhymes and musical games in his routine. In addition to bringing fun and comfort, these musical moments also serve as benchmarks. Here are some examples of appropriate times to sing to your child:

  • At bedtime or waking time;
  • When washing hands;
  • During a diaper change;
  • When you are feeding him in your arms;
  • When blowing his nose;
  • When preparing a meal;
  • When rocking your child etc.

Let your child guide you. You will quickly understand if the musical activity is too long or too short because it’s based on the interest shown by your child. Choose nursery rhymes that will stimulate his imagination and expand his vocabulary. These songs should also get him thinking, memorizing, using gestures and understanding new concepts.

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