Effects of music on infant development

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Will listening to music make your baby smarter in the future? In fact, the answer to this and how is unclear, but researchers suggest that music will create new pathways and connections in the baby’s brain. Every day, with the help of new technology, researchers are gaining more insight into what supports early brain development.

We know that in the early years, babies’ brains rapidly form the complex networks of structures and functions necessary for mature thought processes to occur. These connections are multiplied by the stimulating environmental experiences he has. Whether good or bad, these experiences will have a decisive impact on the architecture of his brain and the scope of his future abilities. In a process called neural pruning, your baby’s brain initiates an adjustment and removes all unnecessary associations to concentrate on the nerves used, to ensure that the strong ones are maintained and sustained. That’s why your little one’s environment and experiences are so important to their future learning development.

Musical experiences in the first years of their lives can play an important role in their brain-building connections for lifelong social skills. Research shows that early music-based interactions between parents and their babies provide parents with information about their baby’s movements. In a study of lullabies and infants, mothers reported that singing lullabies facilitated a deeper understanding of their infants’ reactions, while also improving their own feelings about motherhood. Lullabies can also help you support your baby’s self-regulation. As you calm your little one, you will develop the ability to calm herself and prepare her for future skills in managing her emotional state and needs. You can also develop self-control in your toddler by dancing to the beat of a song and standing still when the music stops. Experimenting with music also gives your child a chance to build confidence and self-esteem. Try to maintain eye contact while singing with him and use his name in songs; Pay attention to which songs and rhythms you like the most. Encouraging even the simplest interactions, such as shaking a rattle or playing with a tambourine, can make your child feel capable and competent. Remember that your son learns a lot through imitation, so if you teach him how to use an instrument, he will learn how to use it himself. This gives you the opportunity to take turns and share. Try sharing an instrument or even repeating sounds back and forth and making your own music. Not only will you have a lot of fun, you will strengthen your bond and strengthen your relationship.

The findings of a study show how children respond with pleasure to music and how this facilitates their expression and learning. Listening and singing about emotions helps toddlers identify words that correspond to certain emotions. Clapping and singing the song “If you’re happy and you know” evokes emotions, even without the lyrics of the music. Studies examining babies aged 3-9 months show that even at that age, babies can distinguish between happy and sad music, and how this promotes social and communicative development.

Music greatly contributes to the formation of patterns of brain connections, especially in the activities of the right hemisphere of the brain, such as creativity, artistic expression and musical intelligence. These connections have proven essential for the development of lifelong thinking skills, cognitive development, communication and expression processes. Studies have discovered that musical information and activity in the brain is not localized to a specific region, but instead involves the memory, auditory, visual, emotional and motor systems. The findings showed how music had an effect on memory acquisition in 3-month-old infants. Other studies have also shown how songs and stories provide ways to improve language skills, increase memory, and expose children to the structure, rhythms, rhymes, and melodic patterns of language. Music has also been shown to help learn, retrieve, and reconstruct a text. Findings from one study show how a text is better remembered when heard as a song rather than speech. Music provides repetition of patterns and rhythmic information that facilitates learning.

Because music allows for different emotions, it also provides the opportunity for children to be in touch with their own emotions and then with the emotions of others. Encourage your child to explore with sounds, pitches, tones and rhythms; will create their own musical experiences. Making this a team effort and inviting other family members or friends to join also gives your child the opportunity to collaborate and build relationships. Create a family parade where everyone adds a voice or voice to the performance. These experiences encourage parallel play, positive interactions, and teamwork, which form the basis of future friendships and relationships.

Listening to music, dancing to the rhythm of a song or trying musical instruments allows children to experience freedom of expression and learn about themselves and their environment. Playing songs from different cultures can also open your child to developing a cultural awareness and validating the importance of where they come from. Recognizing different styles, rhythms and melodies exposes him to other people’s experiences and fosters self-confidence and feelings of belonging to a culture. Cross-cultural studies continue to confirm that music is universal.

Incorporating music in your interaction with your little one will have an impact on his/her socio-emotional development and will lay the foundation for future relationships. So how can you make music a part of your child’s daily life?

•Use the TV to play songs or different instruments instead of turning it on as a source of entertainment. Make it even more fun by combining dancing and singing.

• Associate certain songs with certain tasks or daily times. For example, you can say hello to the sun in the morning with the song “say hello to the sun”. You can build towers while listening to “London Bridge” during the game time. You can sing the “goodbye song” when it’s time to put down the toys. You can include songs in just about anything you do during the day, even when changing diapers.

• Try to combine funny gestures, faces and even other toys to keep your little one busy.

• Give him a chance to make his own music as well. By banging two toys together, your little one is exposed to rhythm, movements and sound patterns.

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