Did you know that music is a pre-skill to reading and language development?
There are many benefits in singing to your baby. Emotionally, singing gentle lullabies can help soothe a fussy baby by relieving stress for the baby and the parent singing. Singing can also strengthen bonds between baby and parents, making the baby feel loved and taken care of.
Research has shown numerous other benefits from singing to your baby. One interesting study done by Gerry, Unau, and Trainor published in 2012 showed that actively singing can increase babies social development. It has helped babies advance in their cognitive development. Babies who were sung to showed an increase in pre-linguistic gestures such as pointing to objects. These skills are some of the first steps babies use in communicating their needs.
In addition, parents who actively sing to their babies can help their child learn language and early reading skills. Blythe, the author of The Genius of Natural Childhood says, "Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry the 'signature' melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child's ear, voice and brain for language."
Here is an example of an easy song to sing with your baby. If you go on Youtube, there are several other fun videos by this lady. The most important aspect is to include lots of actions and ton difference in your voice! This will help your baby have fun and start learning language.
Family Fun Guide on Youtube
Here are some tips to help you get started in singing to your baby:
1. Don’t get stage fright: You don’t need to consider yourself musically gifted for your baby to reap the benefits of being sung to. Your baby doesn’t know if you are on pitch or have rhythm. They will feel loved and enjoy it regardless of your singing abilities.
2. Live music is better: Just like cuddling up and being read to is better than listening to a recorded book on CD, live singing will be more enjoyable to your baby. Make sure never to put headphones on a baby, it could damage their delicate ear drums.
3. Sing your favorites: You don’t need to sing nursery songs like Old MacDonald if you don’t want to. Make it enjoyable for yourself. You can sing along to jazz, rock, hymns, or whatever is popular on the radio. If you love the songs, your baby will love to hear you singing them.
4. Get the family involved: Let older siblings and dad join in singing time. The more involved the family can be, the better. They will bond with each other and build wonderful memories.
5. Play time: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Singing time can be fun and silly. Add some actions when your baby is 3 or 4 months by laying them in your lap and helping them stretch their arms to songs like “itsy bitsy spider”. It will surely bring a smile to their face. They would be happy and entertained to watch you do some actions and dancing as well.