Lullabies to help soothe young children have been a part of infant care since ancient times. A crying baby will often settle down when they hear their mother’s voice, but there’s a lot more to it than simply making babies more comfortable.
Singing to babies offer significant benefits to them, some of which will last their whole lives. Here are 3 major benefits of singing to babies.
Builds Brain Development
When your baby is listening to you sing, a lot more is going on than just enjoying the sound. Music can actually accelerate brain development in children, helping them to learn faster later in life. A recent study out of the University of Washington found that music helped improve music and speech processing in 9-month-old babies.
Older children such as preschoolers and those under 5 can also benefit from listening to songs or singing themselves. Singing can help improve literacy, vocabulary, and speech development in young children.
Builds Infant/Parent Bond
Babies love to hear their parents voice and feel comforted when they hear their parent’s voice. Parents also feel better when they see how relaxed and comfortable their baby is when they hear their voice.
Some studies even suggest that singing to babies may have evolved as a survival strategy, to help build the bond between parents quickly. This is an extremely important skill, because poor infant-parent bond can actually have negative effects.
The better the parent bond with the baby, the more likely it is the parent will be able to interpret cries with their baby’s needs, and the happier and less stressed that infant will be.
Even very fragile babies in the NICU can benefit from their parents singing to them and build their bond through music. Even if touch is necessarily limited, singing can help the baby recognize their parents voice, know they are there, and receive comfort.
Babies in the NICU who have their parents sing to them often do better, and take more nutrients, than those that don’t.
Helps Regulate Infant Emotions
Babies are not born with the ability to regulate their emotions. That’s why when ever a baby is feeling sad, or angry, or bored, they cry. They don’t have the ability to change their emotions, and thus need a parent to help them feel better.
Singing can help babies learn to regulate their emotions, settle down, and stop crying.
Helps Reduce Stress Hormones
Singing can also help regulate a baby’s stress hormones, reducing cortisol and even psychological and biological markers of anxiety. Just by singing to, and eventually with, your child you can help shape their future to be a positive and happy one through music.
There’s a lot of benefits to singing to your baby, and those benefits continue well into the preschool years. A child who loves music often has a better understanding of speech, better literacy rates, and much more compared to those who don’t have a lot of music in their life.
If you’re looking for a way to give your baby a boost, and maybe help soothe them to sleep, singing them a lullaby might be the way to do both.