How To Use the Positive Messages from Our Songs – Part 3 Moving, Dancing, and Creating Rhythm to the Music
Like their parents, babies and young children love music. Children respond to music. They move. They sing. They play to music. It’s the rhythmic and repetitive movement of music that stimulates and promotes neural connections in the brain. Neural connections are what creates learning. Music can become much more than a way to have fun for you and your child. Music can help to “wire-up” a young child’s brain to help them learn more effectively.
When a child dances or sings, more brain cells get connected in more areas of the brain. From KidsHealth Organization, “Research shows that kids who are actively involved in music (who play it or sing it regularly):
- do better in reading and math when they start school
- are better able to focus and control their bodies
- play better with others, and have a higher self-esteem.”
Children of all ages, even infants, express themselves through music. Music will get them swaying and bouncing or moving their hands in response to music. Infants can recognize the melody of a song long before they understand the words. Young children try to mimic sounds and start moving to the music, as soon as they are physically able. There are several YouTube videos that feature infants who move, bounce and sway to music that their mother or father is playing (link below). In addition, quiet, background music or soft lullaby songs can also have a soothing effect on infants, especially at sleep time.
Early in life, a child recognizes when someone is calling or singing their name. Knowing their name is probably one of the first ways that a child begins to understand their own separate identity. When my daughters were born, I wrote a song for each of them to instill the message that they were loved and valued. I wrote these songs for the specific purpose that we would sing or play them regularly. When my daughter, Lyla, was born, I wrote the song, “Lyla.” Lyla would move, dance, and clap to the music. When my grandson, Antonio, was born, I wrote the song, “Antonio Romantico.” I wanted Antonio to know that he was loved and a very special person in our lives and in this world.
Here are some exercises that may help you “wire-up” your child’s brain to help stimulate their brain development.
Play the music at home, in your car, or anywhere.
1. Move to the music and dance.
2. Encourage your child to dance with you.
3. Keep time to the beat with your child.
a. If your child has any instruments, encourage them to play to the beat of the music.
b. Other things can be used as instruments, like a wooden spoon and a plastic bowl.
c. You can use toys, such as drums or toy blocks that can be tapped together.
d. Clap to the music.
4. Sing-a-long with your child to the music.
5. Use Grandpa Steve’s songs at a kid’s party or get together, and incorporate the exercises above.
6. Play the music in the car.
a. Listen with your child.
b. Sing-a-long with your child to the music.
7. Games – You can use the Grandpa Steve’s songs as a game. For example, in the song, “Bee Positive,” you could ask your children to cheer out the word “love”, every time they hear it.