By Magali da Silva
Most parents start singing to their children before they can even speak, and this is a good thing! Research has shown that singing is an essential precursor to learning to speak. The way we sing might sound very different to the way we speak in sentences, but songs actually contain a lot of important characteristics of our native language. Researchers believe that singing is crucial as part of helping your child develop the language skills necessary for their nursery and school education.
Singing is well known to lower stress and boost mood, and many of us sing to our children in hopes of seeing that wonderful smile on their little face. Studies have shown that children respond differently to live music than they do to recorded music. Babies are more responsive to music that comes directly to the parent, so it’s important not to rely or recordings or television shows.
If you do, make sure you sing along with them at the same time! Almost twenty years, and I remember clearly the days when I did sing for my son Giovanni during his first year of life. When children are old enough to understand more, singing is an amazing way to help them absorb information. Attaching important information to a melody makes it easier to absorb. Whether this information is educational, or whether it’s simply helping them to learn regular patterns of speech in our language.
The benefits are even greater when children are encouraged to sing along, which helps to develop their skills of reciprocal communication. And creating actions and dances to go along with the songs can help improve their motor development, coordination and sense of rhythm. And children with a better sense of rhythm have been shown as more likely to read well.
I have only one boy and he is twenty years old now, and just start his Jr. year at Syracuse University where he is doing performance arts with specialization in musical theater. As a baby, there are a number of musical baby groups you can attend to get you started. Then, when your child starts school, encourage them to sign up for the school choir. Additionally, try to include singing as part of your daily routine, for example as they are going to bed, or get them to sing along when you’re listening to the radio in the car. I hope you like the reading and the inspiration.