Babies and Music21st Jul 15 | Family
I’ve always been a lover of music. According to my mother, I was dancing to the Bosco theme tune from about 6 months of age and was a dancer for many years after that.
I’m so glad to see my daughter following in my footsteps. In or around 7 months, I saw her little sways starting to emerge whenever we had music playing. Fast forward another 7 months and she’s already been labelled ‘the dancing baby’ by many! The head is shaking, the hands are clapping and the legs are bouncing. Just yesterday as we took a walk down the street, she broke into dance every time the ice-cream van drove past!
I encouraged my daughter’s love of music from a very young age. It may seem as if they’re not even listening to you when you sing nursery rhymes in the early months but don’t be fooled! They’re absorbing everything! I started my little one in a music and movement class at about 7 months and next month we’re transitioning to the toddler group as we’ve finally starting taking those first steps. She’ll be a proper little dancer soon.
Here are some tips that work for me as both a parent and speech and language therapist:
Sing nursery rhymes to your baby from a young age. Babies are learning through their senses from the moment they’re born so it’s important that we stimulate all of these. Music helps children become more aware of voice and rhythm of speech.
Children learn language through repetition so sing those nursery rhymes over and over again!
Begin by naming the song for your child. Your child will soon begin to anticipate what’s coming next!
When naming the song, use an action that also represents it. By 10 months of age, my little one could request ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ by mimicking the sign I used for it. A great way to reduce frustration before those first words develop.
Take out some musical instruments and have fun banging, shaking, clapping and exploring! Children learn about the sounds in their environment through exploration of a variety of different objects. Shake that tambourine and wait for your child to shake it back! If you’ve no musical instruments, get creative with your pots and spoons!
Stop singing mid-way through the nursery rhyme and wait for your child to request more. A child who has not yet developed speech may request more by making eye contact with you, smiling or even by moving a body part! Remember to interpret all forms of communication as your child’s request for more.
Play a CD of nursery rhymes in the car and keep your little ones occupied on those long journeys.
Make dancing and singing part of your daily routine. A CD player has been one of my best investments yet for the play room. At 14 months now, she’ll do a little wiggle or point at the playroom door when she wants to go in for a dance.
Make up some actions to go with the nursery rhymes and keep them the same each time. Your toddler will soon begin to copy you. At 14 months I watch with amusement every time my daughter blows through her nose as I sing ‘The daddies on the bus go sssh sshh sssh’.
So there you have it! A few easy ways to incorporate music into your little one’s daily routine.
Does your little one enjoy music? Let me know your thoughts.
Jennifer is a Cork based mother of one, speech and language therapist and the author of firstdiscoveriesblog.com. You can follow Jennifer’s journey on: