As you may have observed, most children, even pre-schoolers, seem to love music and have their own favourite songs. This does not result from the music that is played during long car trips, for example, but comes from further encouragement on behalf of the parents or caregivers. Notably, the first three years of a child’s life is when the most important developmental stage takes place, specifically, the formation of brain connections that relate to speech/language acquisition as well as the development of motor and cognitive skills during that time and in the following years. To this end, musical experiences hold a crucial role in the creation of such pathways across different areas in the brain, known as neural connections, to young children.
Music expands communication and enhances imagination
Before babies start forming their first words, they begin to babble which, along with sound-play, helps the creation of the brain’s neural pathways that will enable children to eventually start listening, understanding, and talking themselves. At the same time, when you speak directly to your baby, you notice that the babbling becomes more intense and even seems to be in response to your own talking. What is also very interesting is that sounds and music help babies make sense of the world around them while they can mimic music at a very early age! Interestingly, according to research, babies who respond to sounds and music grow to become toddlers with vivid imagination and rich vocabulary.
Creates a Sense of Belonging
As well known, music strengthens the sense of connection to others which creates a sense of belonging that can even build a kind of community. Effectively, families who like playing or listening to music together urge children to feel more connected to their parents and siblings. Furthermore, when children listen to various types of songs, they are exposed to different accents and various stories that teaches them the concepts of “belonging” and “being an outsider”. What is also crucial is that when music is integrated into the educational curriculum of young children, children get to learn about the music and sounds of other cultures and feel connected to others, forming in this way a more inclusive community.
It Makes them Happy
Children, as well as adults, who listen to music, sing, and dance regularly tend to feel happy and relaxed. Especially when live music is involved, young children usually get really excited. Music in general helps to lift our mood and protects us from sadness and even illness. Some of the fondest memories are created while listening to your favorite tunes, singing and dancing while cooking with your family, sharing jokes and laughing over silly things. In the future, when you listen to the music associated to such moments, you get to re-experience these happy emotions of joy, affection, and pure happiness.
It improves their literacy
Extensive research has revealed that the way we produce musical sounds is identical to the way we process speech, confirming the fact that music can improve listening skills and, ultimately, promote literacy. To this end, music training is associated with the enhancement of literacy skills.
What is very beneficial for coordination is the ability to play an instrument. This is because the brain, when you play an instrument, is forced to work pretty quickly in order to convert the reading of music to the physical motion of playing the instrument. For this reason, children who learn to play instruments have better hand-eye coordination.
Last but not least, the act of learning to play an instrument, along with the teacher’s encouragement and parents’ support, helps children to develop higher self-esteem, a sense of pride, thus to become more confident and cope better with anxiety. What’s more, the study of music helps emotional development while it creates a sense of empathy towards other cultures. Finally, since the study of music is linked to self-expression and enhanced creativity, children usually gain the ability to communicate better with others throughout their entire life.
Parents should always be close to their children, trying to offer them the best opportunities for living a good life. This is why RMH Cyprus’s goal is to keep families together and provide them with “a home away from home” in time of need, in order to be close to their hospitalized child. For more information, you can check our websites: RMHC Cyprus: https://rmhc.org.cy/el/ and RMHC global: https://www.rmhc.org/.