Italians singing out their city windows to lift spirits. Professional musicians streaming free concerts from their homes. Yes, music is good for all of us in these challenging times. But for children, its benefits can be immeasurable, says Stephanie Duesing, former music teacher and author.
She explains that children exposed to music and movement in early childhood experience many neurological benefits, including better social skills, balance, coordination and gross and fine motor skills. They also have, on average, a 20 percent higher IQ.
Share and Repeat Simple Songs
For young children, very simple songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star are wonderful. Small children need to sing these simple songs many times. Repetition is important for little children and helps them to develop language skills. There is actual research demonstrating that children who can keep a steady beat usually become better readers than kids who can’t.
Pair Songs With Twirling, Bouncing, Marching and More
songs with simple movement also helps toddlers to acquire language, as
do learning simple nursery rhymes. The brain benefits of music are very
strong when music and movement happen together, so have fun exploring
movements like twirling, bouncing, marching, swaying, swinging, and even
rolling on the floor. Making up silly songs about marching and the
other movements as you move around your home can give everyone some
exercise and help your toddler to learn new words. This is also good
for the inner ear, improving a child’s balance and motor skills and can
help later with sports.
Take Dance Breaks!
Rhythm is extremely important for brain development. So taking a dance break several times a day actually refreshes the body and the mind for parents and children alike. No fancy moves required: just get up and wiggle, stomp your feet or move in whatever way you’d like to the beat.
Stephanie Duesing is a former music teacher and author of Eyeless Mind. She believes that early exposure to music helped her son, Sebastian, achieve normal developmental milestones across the board even though he was almost completely blind. Sebastian has Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment, or CVI—a common form of visual impairment caused by a disturbance to the brain’s visual pathways and/or processing centers (occipital lobes). She has consulted with many top vision and brain specialists, encourages parents everywhere to use this exceptional time at home to help kids enjoy music