Music, I believe, is a part of life. Even when music isn’t playing, I hear music in the sounds around me. No wonder I married a drummer! When Diva was first born, she was colicky. She cried and cried. And cried.
My husband, who always has music playing somewhere, opened his phone, clicked his iheart radio app, typed in reggae music, and SILENCE except for the music!
Now, even at 18 months, when she cries or is fussy, we put on the reggae, or whatever else we’re feeling at the moment, and either dance around or sit in the rocker and rock. It’s calming to her and to me, and it helps me stay sane for a few moments longer after all that crying!
There are many other benefits of letting your baby listen to music, other than the silence it may cause. Here are a few:
- Music helps the overall brain develop. Listening to music, even as an adult, involves both hemispheres (left and right) at once. It also exercise the parts that deal with numbers and language! Talk about brain workout for baby!
- Music has been proven to help with memorization. Ever wonder why you can remember the words to your favorite song but not what your spouse just said? Music has been used to promote healthy memory in all ages, hence the songs that your older children come home singing.
- Music develops a sense of rhythm. Baby will be dancing to a beat before you know it!
- Music is a bonding experience. It doesn’t have to be a concert to bond over. Think Carpool Karaoke with James Corden or those moments in the car with your friends.
- Music can be a mood changer. An upbeat song can change you from a bad mood or depressed mood to a good mood in under a minute. How many things can make that happen? And if it will do it for you, it can do it for baby.
- Music can also be calming – think those favorite lullabies. Your voice singing a lullaby can almost always work, but Diva prefers the reggae music.
Music, according to Dr. Diane Bales, “has a powerful effect on our emotions.” Dr. Bales, Associate Professor and Extension Human Development Specialist at the University of Georgia, claims that “[c]hildren who grow up listening to music develop strong music-related connections in the brain. Some of these music pathways actually affect the way we think. Listening to classical music seems to improve our spatial reasoning, at least for a short time. And learning to play an instrument may have an even longer effect on certain thinking skills.”
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that playing music for baby is going to make them smarter. It does, however, seem to suggest that music can help changing ways of thinking or make connections that will help children be smarter. For example, “children who took piano lessons for six months improved their ability to work puzzles and solve their other spatial tasks by as much as 30 percent.”
I don’t know about you, but to me, that is worth putting in the money for my kid to learn to play an instrument. Not to mention learning to play instruments can help with hand-eye coordination! Diva has been “playing” her daddy’s drums since she could hold the stick in her hand. Now every time that door is opened, she goes in there and gets the drum sticks and bangs her heart away!
Like I said, Diva prefers reggae music, but we listen to a little of everything from country to rap and pop. We listen to The Piano Guys – Diva’s favorite song from the time she was in the womb has been The Lord of the Rings. Diva also has her own iPod, which has a playlist all her own that includes Elvis’ greatest hits, she bobs up and down to “Jailhouse Rock“, The Lion Guard (Music from the TV Series album, where her favorite song that she is starting to try to sing! is “Here Comes the Lion Guard” by Beau Black, Disney songs from the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, etc., and and is completed with several songs from today’s hits that are appropriate for her to listen to (by appropriate I mean minimum cursing and certain topics are exempt, well except for “Work” by Rhianna – the radio edited version. Diva bobbing up and down to that song makes me giggle. Don’t judge, I have to have entertainment sometimes, too!).
Need other ideas of what to put on your child’s playlist? Babble published a great list you can check out here!
Try this with your fussy baby and see if it helps. If nothing else, it may be a bonding experience!