Our kids are exposed to music every day…at the store, in the car and during their favorite movies. Music is happening all around us, which is why it might be easy as parents to start taking it for granted.
But did you know that Moana or Frozen song your kids are obsessed with is actually aiding in their emotional and mental development?
Regular exposure to music has been shown to provide countless developmental benefits, including building our kids’ empathy, expanding their vocabulary, and improving their math skills.
Movement to music? Well, that’s even better. Engaging in music through activities that include it like fun musical games, dance, and gymnastics can enhance these benefits while also teaching your kiddos fine motor skills.
Music Helps Kids Build Empathy
If you were to write out the traits you hope your child develops as they grow, chances are kindness is up there on the list. But how can music help with that?
Engaging in music-based play or dance helps your child learn how to read the motions and sounds of those around them, and synchronize accordingly.
Synchronizing with others creates an understanding and sense of empathy.
One study showed that 4 year olds who had participated in musical activities with their peers were more likely to help others and pursue collaboration than other 4 year olds who engaged in playtime without music.
Another study showed that infants who bounced to the rhythm of music were more likely to show empathy toward the experimenter than infants who bounced out of sync with the tunes playing.
Musical play can also be a tool that to educate kids on other cultures and lifestyles. Exposing them to new kinds of music, thoughts, and lyrics can help them step out of their comfort zone to better relate to others.
Music Can Improve Kids’ Math Skills
Math: your kid probably either loves it or hates it. Either way, it’s something they’ll need in order to problem solve as they grow up.
And music is a great way to help them sharpen up those math skills in a new way.
Participating in music and matching movement to notes and rhythms enhances pattern recognition, which is a key component to understanding fundamental mathematics.
Take, for example, The Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect is a term that came from an experiment where scientists gave students a list of logical tasks to complete, like completing a maze.
The kids who listened to Mozart beforehand completed the tasks faster and more accurately than those who didn’t listen to music first.
Patterns aren’t the only thing children learn through music. Engaging in dance and moving their bodies in different ways helps creates an enhanced sense of spatial awareness, which is important for understanding geometry.
Does your child aspire to be an engineer? Then you may want to get them dancing first!
Music Aids in Language Development
No matter the age of your child, language development plays an important role in their social and academic skills.
Language helps enhance creativity, and improve their communication skills.
Hearing singing can help prompt children to sing along, matching the vocabulary and rhythms of the lyrics. This is especially handy for babies and toddlers, as even babble is practice.
Auditory discrimination, or the ability to decipher words and sounds, is another huge perk of music exposure.
Without audio discrimination, a child may easily mix up words as they hear them. For example, mistaking the word “sister” for “sitter” can cause extra challenges in understanding what someone is saying to them. But music has been shown to enhance this by emphasizing the rhythm, tone, and sound grouping of words.
When singing along to a song, your child realizes the need to match the music with the syllables. This helps with their rhyming skills and encourages them to expand their vocabulary.
How to Incorporate Music Into Your Daily Routine
Convinced? Now it’s time to get creative and learn how to add some music to your kid’s routine!
- Make the most of your morning by doing a “good morning” song or waking up to a little dance party in the kitchen.
- Create songs together. Help your child write a simple song, whether it be about their day to day activities or each other.
- Kids love a good concert, too! Take your kids to family-friendly live music events to dance the night away. Just be sure to remember ear protection!
- Keep different types of musical instruments around the house, and enroll them in lessons if they show a particular interest in one.
- Explore new genres together. Have a classical music day, a rock music day, etc. Dive in to what makes the genre unique and get to know your child’s preferences.
Music and Movement: A Match Made in Heaven
So we know now that music itself has countless benefits to your child’s development. How can we push those benefits even further? Adding some movement to it.
Not only do activities like gymnastics and dance add some extra fun to music in addition to providing physical perks, it also keeps your children learning and growing at healthy rates.
Adding some movement to your activity helps kids improve their motor skills and balance. That means they’re less likely to come home with those bumps and bruises they’ve been collecting at soccer practice.
Moving around to music also provides kids with a new, healthy way to express their emotions as well as the emotions they’re interpreting as they listen. Listening to slow, sad, music? Watch as their movements match.
Dancing while singing also adds a memory boost. Adding a motion to the lyrics helps them remember the words and keep up their sharp new vocabulary skills.
Keep your kids engaged, moving and learning all at once by enrolling them in a dance class at Mountain Contemporary Dance Arts >