(KUTV) Music is an easy and enjoyable way to interact and bond with your baby starting at a young age. The power of music can both help to soothe your child and assist in their development. The best part, you don’t have to be an amazing singer for your child to benefit from music.
“Your child wants to hear your voice more than anybody else’s,” says Spencer Hardy, Music Therapist at Primary Children’s Hospital. “It doesn’t matter if you have a good voice, just use music as a way to interact with your baby,” adds Amanda Maestro-Scherer, Music Therapist at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Listening to music is good, but it’s a passive activity. However, singing with your child promotes bonding and interaction.
“There’s eye contact. They’re tracking you. They’re listening for the sound. They’re watching your cues. They’re wanting to imitate the things that you’re doing,” says Hardy.
If you aren’t sure what song to sing or don’t want to sing a typical lullaby – that’s okay! You can choose any song you like and sing it to your child.
“It could be your favorite song. It could be Metallica. Just sing it in a soothing lullaby way,” says Maestro-Scherer.
Music helps a child develop their motor, language, and memory skills – just to name a few. For example, a child may try to model a parent’s behavior such as banging on a drum (or pots and pans).
“Having small rattles and shakers and having them imitate you to shake them, tap them, to roll them,” says Hardy.
Language and memory skills can be improved by parents using a song like the ABC’s to teach kids valuable information, or leave off the last word of a phrase so the child can fill it in. This prompts them to sing different sounds and use different words.
“Thinking about what’s the next step for my baby and how can I present this music in a way that will kind of challenge them,” recommends Maestro-Scherer.
Not only can music help with development, it can help soothe a child. Whether it’s bath time, bedtime, or time to potty train, music can soothe your child during transitions and help them adjust to change.
The main thing is to use music and focus on the time and attention spent with your child.
“The most important piece is having that interaction with the parent and using the music with intention,” says Maestro-Scherer.