Children and Music: How Songs Help Toddlers Learn and Grow
Children and music enjoy a special connection. We sing to our babies even before they are born, and science indicates that babies can recognize, and be soothed by, songs they heard in the womb. From the moment they’re born, we instinctively use songs to calm our children, to make them smile, and to express love and happiness.
But the benefits of music go far beyond pure enjoyment. Research shows music influences children and can help toddlers learn and develop fundamental life skills. One study has found that children who listen to and experiment with music with their parents, experience cognitive benefits besides those of reading.
Below, we’ll explore six exciting ways children can learn from music — and how a screen-free music player like Jooki could be what you're looking for.
1. Music Can Help Children with Literacy and Numeracy
Babies advance and learn at a remarkable rate. They can identify, and be comforted by, the cadence and tone of their mother’s voice from birth. From an early age, they can tell the difference between varying sounds. As they become toddlers, listening to music can help a child develop their ability to decode and identify different sounds, tones, and words.
Listening to music with your toddler can help them identify sound patterns. It can also help them learn through repetition, which is why so many of our favorite nursery rhymes are repetitive. Over time, toddlers begin to anticipate what will come next, encouraging them to join in.
Learning how to put patterns in a sequence lays the building blocks of literacy and numeracy. By recognizing patterns in songs, children can better identify patterns in numbers later on in their childhood. When it comes to literacy, rhyme, and song play a huge role because early literacy skills are more about listening and speaking rather than reading and writing.
2. Music Can Help Children with Sensory Development
The brain is an incredible organ, and in toddlers, it’s developing at a remarkable rate. So many factors can influence its development. As with different textures, colors, and tastes, music is a tool that hugely impacts sensory development. If you expose your toddler to a range of music early on, you can help them to develop more pathways between the cells of their brains.
3. Music Can Help Children Strengthen Their Memory
When you listen to music with your children and play along, including actions and movement, you can help your toddler strengthen memory skills. Music and dancing are all about sequences, melodies, and rhythms. Combining all these elements help toddlers to develop their memory.
Jooki goes one step further. Using Jooki, your toddler can use interactive custom tokens associated with his or her favorite playlists. For example, one of our tokens depicts a toddler falling off to sleep. This symbol would be perfect for a quiet time playlist. Show your toddler that by using certain tokens or characters, they can change up their songs. Before long, they’ll begin to remember what token they need to select to get them their animal playlist, their dancing playlist or their holiday playlist.
4. Music Can Help Children Develop Their Vocabulary
Children mimic words before they understand them entirely — this is something all parents know. When it comes to their favorite music, they might start singing words they have memorized but don’t really know. Nursery rhymes and other children’s songs usually repeat a given phrase, making them easier to remember. This repetition will prompt your toddler to engage and ask what the sounds and words mean, helping them develop their language skills.
5. Music Can Help Children with Coordination
Can your child get anything out of a song if they don’t even understand the words? Of course, they can! A toddler doesn’t need to know the words to any of his or her favorite songs to dance along. Parents all over will know that even at a young age, toddlers have a particular taste and very definite preferences. They’ll show signs of enjoying certain songs or pieces of music far more than others.
When your toddler listens to music, they develop an inclination to move and dance (in their unique way), which develops their fine and gross motor skills. Your toddler might even jump up and down while listening to their favorite song, helping with their strength, muscle development, and balance.
Top Tip: To encourage your toddler to get up and dance, you can choose songs with lyrics that encourage your child to clap their hands, jump, or hop.
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