Were you aware that your little one has the ability to absorb sound, speech and music from very early on? When they are about 24 days old they can identify slight changes in rhythms and even recognize different family member’s voices. It’s truly amazing- if a five month old baby has been listening to a certain song daily, they can recognize its musical composition as soon as they hear it!
Every family (or parent) has a special melody or song that they play to help comfort their baby. Walking the floor with your baby in your arms is a lot more enjoyable and easy when you have a pleasant song to keep you going. Music does nothing but make baby-soothing less like work and more like pleasure. Researchers have discovered that babies too are responsive to music.
Singing to babies seems to come naturally to many people. Even when we talk to babies we alter our speech to make it more musical! We make our speech more rhythmic and repetitive, and we highlight certain pitch contours. Musicality makes the voice more emotionally expressive, and babies respond to this. There’s an advantage when you sing to your little one over recorded music - the personal connection. It not only makes your bond stronger, but it also calms your baby and boosts development. Crooning and lullabies are of course important, for they give pleasure and a sense of security to the baby. In addition, they provide the first steps on your baby's long road in learning and will help them to speak and to understand speech. You might have noticed your little one’s face light up when you hum or sing to them; they giggle and coo because they love the sound of your voice! Singing to your child is an organic way to connect with them.
Here are some benefits of singing to your little one:
- Vocabulary: As you sing, you introduce new words into your baby’s world which can help them with their vocabulary. You can even use associations. For example, when singing a song about a bird you can hold up a bird stuffed toy or a picture of a bird so your baby can understand what a bird is.
- Listening skills: Singing is another way for your baby to begin to understand language and feelings expressed through language and sing-play, simultaneously improving listening skills.
- Bonding: Singing to your child just strengthens the bond you two share. It’s a way of expressing your love and affection to your little one.
- Routine: If you sing every day, while either changing them or feeding them or putting them to sleep, babies can recognize a routine and know what to expect! It gives them extra security.
But what if you just aren't a very good singer? Don’t worry about it. Babies are the only completely non-critical audience we'll ever get! They really do like you just the way you are, and many parents discover that with their babies, they can sing without any self-consciousness.