The Benefits of Soothing With Song
One of the greatest pleasures parents can have is singing with their babies. This was certainly true in my case. Some of my most vivid memories with my children include singing to my three sons in the nursery. There’s something magical about singing while holding a baby’s gaze and dancing with gusto while they’re in your arms. Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits provided many hours of enjoyment in my house, as well as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Pete Seeger’s animal songs. I always tried to learn new tunes to keep my boys interested and connected. Ultimately, sing what you love and your baby will love what you sing.
Besides being a fun, intimate experience, soothing your child with song has amazing benefits. If you sing to your baby you will:
- Nurture brain development when the brain is growing the most
- Provide visual stimulation to help babies focus
- Strengthen loving attachments, which is crucial for emotional health and lifelong learning
- Introduce mathematical rhythm and teach new vocabulary
- Express mood through melody and expand emotional intelligence through exposure to new words
As children grow and develop, some songs will work better than others. Great baby songs feature repetition and also offer possibilities for hand motions—which is why The Itsy Bitsy Spider works so well. Babies can make eye contact, listen, watch your face and mouth, and observe your hands as you sing. What’s great about these types of songs is that you can make up words, add your own hand movements, and be free with your interpretation. Here are some of my favorite songs to try with babies (but really the choices are endless!):
So sing to your baby every day—whether you’re in the nursery, in the car, on line at the grocery store, or with family and friends around the table. Singing provides lots of enrichment, hours of fun, and meaningful time together.
By Renee Bock, a dedicated early childhood educator and the educational director at Explore+Discover, a social learning center in Manhattan committed to setting the standard for infant and toddler care and education. Learn more about Explore+Discover on Kidz Central Station!