This new year’s resolution is so easy it can be almost be done with your eyes closed: include music and singing in your child’s day. Why would that be important? For a start, music and singing can have a positive impact on the brain. There is some new research in Germany showing that exposing a child to music during the early years enlarges parts of the brain. Music creates pathways and connections used for thinking skills and for math and language development, stretches memory and focuses attention.
Songs and music encourage careful listening and closer social connections. When singing with others, kids learn to watch and listen for clues so that what’s happening is in sync. Music and songs also affect our moods and influence our emotions. Music can be a strategy for coping with many situations. Just think of the story of These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things in the Sound of Music. When we’re feeling bad… or happy, or sad, or scared, or other feelings, too.
Kids do not sit still when they sing and hear music. They are active by dancing, jumping, hopping, bobbing, and moving all around. Adults often exercise to music because the sounds are stimulating. The rhythm of music can help with coordination and muscle control. Our hearts and breath move rhythmically so it is no wonder that we are attracted to rhythm.
Parents are sometimes reluctant to sing for and with their children but when parents sing, kids listen with their hearts. My dad sang with only 2 notes, low or even lower. I hear his voice now only in my memories and cherish them. Listen to all sorts of music and some of the ones that were your favorites as a child. Raffi just released a new CD and visits in different cities. Many parents write that they love introducing their kids to the songs they enjoyed and sang years earlier.
Music and songs are an enduring way to pass down traditions and culture. Music also connects countries. Let It Go from Frozen is in dozens and dozens of languages. Music and singing are so much fun perhaps this is the new year’s resolution that you and your child will enjoy the most?
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