Children LOVE listening to music. If there’s a child who doesn’t love music, then I’m going to argue that they haven’t met their hearts match where music genre is concerned.
Born to Dance
Did you know that humans are born to dance? Researchers have found that babies prefer to listen to the beat of music over speech. (Source) They decided this by testing the babies reactions to speech vs. their reaction to music. Let’s just say, don’t feel bad if you run out of things to talk about with your baby. Just turn on some music. Try several age-appropriate genres and decide which your baby prefers. You’ll know by their reaction.
Moreover, have you ever noticed that you can turn on music and a baby who has never seen dancing will start to bounce up and down? Secondly, the child who has just started walking will move from foot to foot, stiff-legged, large smile, swaying head. Next, the child gets to the toddler stage, he might start to get a little hip action going or the infamous spin until your dizzy and fall down. Soon, they’ll move on to preschool dance moves where some breakdancing and other floor action usually takes place. Again, the child may have never seen any of this stuff.
Music : Children :: Air : Breathe
To begin with, George Santayana said, “The earth has music for those who listen.” Our children want to “stop and smell the roses” nonstop. Why? Because they are virgins to this Earth. Children appreciate. Kids are curious. They are explorers. Read that quote again. Our children hear the Earth’s music. Don’t stop them from dancing to it. Let them take time to smell the roses.
Secondly, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music,” was a brilliant statement by Aldous Huxley. Before our children can talk, they can follow the beat, sway with the tune, and smile to the lyrics. Music gives them expression. When your child finds their genre love, give them a healthy diet of it.
Thirdly, The female legend, Maya Angelou, wrote, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Similarly, followed by Taylor Swift, “People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.” This is how teens feel. This is what music is for that tween or teen who is finding themselves. Who doesn’t realize they are not one-of-a-kind where their problems are concerned.
When so much is at stake as far as mental health, this is why it is important to make sure what is going into those ears musically, is what you wish you could be empowering them with. Hope. Safety. Dreams can happen. Who cares what everyone else is doing! music. Not tearing them down. Not degrading their bodies or enhancing their sinful thoughts.
Help them make the right choice on what they listen to. Without a doubt, the best way to do that is by modeling it.
Lastly, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music,” is thought to have been spoken by Friedrich Nietzsche. With this quote, I question, why is it so cute to see a child dance to the beat of their own drum, but the older one gets, it is not so often thought cute? As children, we dance so freely. Not worried about what others think. If we’re doing the “in” moves. Totally present in the moment. Laughter spills out of the grins. What happens to us? If you still do this, cheers to you. I do, but not in public.
Music Increases Dopamine Production
Particularly, studies indicate that the main reason humans want to listen to music is that it arouses emotion. (Source) Unsurprisingly, we actually look for music to match our current mood, (Source) but surprisingly, we can change a negative mood by choosing positive music. Much of this has to do with the production of dopamine. Important to realize, studies show that just by thinking about listening to music can release dopamine. To illustrate, the following short video explains the relationship between music and dopamine.
How Listening to Music Benefits Children
- Strengthens listening skills
- Increases attention span
- Encourages motor skills
- Helps boost language skills
- Promotes emotional well-being
- Gives an opportunity to practice social skills when listening with others
- Calms and focuses the mind
- Reduces Depression
- Urges you to eat less
- Makes a commute less stressful, more enjoyable, happy and pleasurable if positive music is playing
- Supports the development of reading skills (To Learn More)
- Improves memory
- Elevates oral and written language
- Supports bonding and connection with whomever the musical experience is shared with
- Can accelerate brain development (Source)
- Provides joy
- Decreases stress
- Increases and betters sleep
- Can alleviate pain
- Uses energy
- Learn to sing-along, keep up with the music’s pace, rhythm, and rate
- Brings out the personality
- Learn dance moves
- Any child, but especially a child with any type of special need can benefit greatly from music therapy
What Kind of Music To Provide for Your Children
- All genres as long as they are age appropriate
- Parents sing to children
- Depending on the mood we are trying to create, should depend on the speed of the beat
- Songs about bathing, dressing, eating, and other routines, You can make those up.
- Repetition of songs
- Silly songs
- Age or language appropriate live concert
- Rhythms with a definite beat
- Nursery Rhymes
- Finger, hand and body motion songs
- Counting, spelling memorizing a sequence such as Bingo
- Songs to Raise Your Kids To
- Kidz Bop Music
- Radio for Kids Music on Pandora – Create your own playlist
- Soundtracks from their favorite movie
- Don’t forget about your local library’s music collection. Usually, they have an endless supply of children’s music.
Set Up a Listening Station in Your Home
You can set up a music station in your home where children can play their favorite tunes. In fact, this has brought so much joy to my family that I put one upstairs and one downstairs. My 2 year old uses it the most. It is amazing to me how quickly he learned to work the CD player and how often he thinks to turn songs on. Most importantly, it adds joy and energy to our day.
What to Include in the Listening Station:
- music player – You can include a CD player or a device can be used where a playlist is saved
- microphone- We have the one below and our whole family takes turn jamming out on it.
- children’s music CDs
Before you release this, have a discussion with your family about how you expect the items to be used and taken care. Add one item at a time so the kids appreciate it and own it. Train your child to use all of the items in your center, and you will be amazed at what your blooming musician has to offer to your entertainment life.
What Should Be Off Limits?
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Rand Group, and other children are affected by what they listen to.
If you put sex, drugs, alcohol, spinning out on a back road, derogatory language… into your child, there’s a lot better chance that is what will come out and at an earlier age. There can also be a greater risk for children becoming depressed, cutting, and anxiety-filled if they are exposed to a lot of stressful music and/or music videos. From what I read, there’s not a lot of good outcomes of heavy metal listening.
As with most laws of the land, if A + B + C is put in, ABC comes out. There’s no reason to be surprised when ABC is the outcome. Make sure the music you allow to enter your child’s ears has the message that will benefit your family culture.
Also, just because the music is produced for children does not mean it is the best choice. If the whole CD has the same children or person singing with the same beat, it’s probably poor quality. If you don’t have a good feeling about it, if no one is enjoying it, if it doesn’t serve the purpose you are trying to achieve, avoid it.
The Children’s Music Collections My Family Enjoys Most
The 123, 3 disc, Collection is great for the price. You won’t run out of songs, and this will give you a lot of selection. This is one of the first collections I used during infant, and we still listen to it. We also own the 123 Bible songs, and they are just as enjoyable. Altogether, this collection is beneficial for making sure your child has exposure to a plethora of nursery rhymes and kid’s tunes.
This is a great get you up and moving CD. Librarians used this at a library program we attended, and we enjoyed it so much that I added it to our collection. It’s folky. It’s fun. Without a doubt, there’s a reason why it won a Parent’s Choice award. Unquestionably, you’ll like it just as much as the kids.
This is my 2nd place personal favorite! Absolutely the best version of Old Mac Donald I’ve ever heard. Click just to play a sample. As an illustration, I can’t help but get up and do my wanna-be version of a Jamaican Dance. This is a collection that is great for road trips. You really aren’t sacrificing your ears for your kid’s pleasure when it comes to this collection!
And Our Family’s Favorite Children’s Music Collection Award goes to…
Genius Morning Song
I played this song every morning in my public school classroom! Kids love this song. Certainly, it brings movement and joy to your mornings. If your family needs something to wake up to, this is a 5-star morning song. By all means, this could be a wake-up-to song, breakfast song, drive to the school song, whenever. Regardless of the location or time, play it in the a.m., to add positive energy to the day.
Call to Action
All these facts considered and knowing how much your children love music should encourage you to play music for your children or set up a music station in your home where children have access to playing music when they feel the urge.
My challenge to you is to set up a music area in your home. Get your children involved in setting it up. Put it in or near a high traffic area so it gets used. Better yet, the best way to get everyone excited about it is to use it yourself.
If you model a love for music, it is contagious. Specifically, I have seen this to be true in my own family. My love of tunes rubbed off on my boys before they were one! Then again, their dad and I met at a concert, so maybe it was just in the cards. In light of all this, the benefits of exposing your children to music are all too valuable to pass up.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS