February Friendship #7: Kids Can Be Friends with Music and Singing

Kids can be friends with music and singing. Is music part of your child’s day? Food is nutrition for bodies, and music is nutrition for brains. This excerpt is from an earlier post on the importance of music for children:

Wow, is there ever a lot of research on music for learning and brain development. A study from Germany’s University of Munster found that music in early childhood can actually enlarge parts of the brain and in the book, “This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin writes: “Music   enhances or changes certain neural circuits.”

importance of singing to kidsTo include music for your child, you do not have to have a great voice or play a musical instrument. Nearing his 90th birthday, Dick Van Dyke (Bert in Mary Poppins) advises, “Everyone should dance. And everyone should sing. People say, ‘Well, I can’t sing.’ Everybody can sing. That you do it badly is no reason not to sing.” When parents sing, kids listen with their hearts.

You don’t only have to sing known songs. Make up your own to fit a situation using familiar tunes, for example, instead of ants go marching, kids can go marching to the car, hurrah, hurrah. Singing is a great way to get kids’ attention so instead of saying something for the zillionth time, sing it! Songs are a way to remind kids without nagging. Kids know what to do when they hear the tidy-up song, or Raffi’s Brush Your Teeth. There are plenty of children’s bands and performers as well as other types of music for listening and singing along.

importance of music for kidsLife itself is based on rhythm: our heartbeats and breathing. Have you ever rocked a little one to sleep? That’s rhythm too. And have you noticed how kids will drum on anything? Again, rhythm. Tap the rhythm to a song with your child, clap hands, play finger games like Patty-cake. Set out the pots and pans and a wooden spoon. When you can’t stand the noise anymore, switch for something quieter like a thick phone book or mouse pad.

Besides singing, for some more music fun play favorite tunes and dance. Both music and movement encourage connections in the brain needed for math and language. Music has a system and wave patterns. Notes go up and down. So do numbers. There’s rhythm and spaces. Language has that too.

dancing outside in fall leavesMusic encourages careful listening and stretches memory. When we sing together we listen and watch others and pay close attention to social clues. We join together through our voices.

Instead of only being a play-of-the-day, could music be a play-of-the-month? Kids can be friends with music and singing for a lifetime. What are some ways to include music for your child?

 

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