Did you know music builds an early foundation for math skills (and so much more!) It's really a wonderful activity to do with your baby. Music has been know to influence almost all areas of early childhood development (Including mathematics, social and emotional development, motor skills, and cognitive skills--it helps build our their language and vocabulary!) It has even been linked to building a healthy emotional intelligence!
Studies have found that babies who engage in making music (with simple instruments like drums and shakers) and moving to music (even if parents have to help them wiggle) use more communicative gestures, such as pretending a banana is a telephone or hugging a doll to show affection around 12 months, than those who listen passively to music. (Source)
When is the best time to introduce music?
An infant's hearing is developed early on (remember that hearing test they were given in the hospital?), so you can start introducing music as early as you'd like. While they won't be mastering the piano just yet, you can begin to introduce sounds, and simple songs into your daily routine together. In the earliest months of life your voice will be one of the most soothing things to baby, so don't be shy about incorporating music into their life right from the start.
How to encourage musical play
There are tons of easy ways to encourage musical play with your baby. In anything you do together during the day, whether it be mealtime, bath time, or just playtime together you can incorporate music into your time as simply as by creating your own songs.
Start by singing to your little one about your day. You can make up a brand new song about what's happening in their world, or choose some of your favorite songs to sing to them. For extra fun, add some gentle dancing for your baby to watch or mimic, and include any simple gestures as you go.
Baby-safe instruments and and musical toys can be wonderful ways for your baby to work on learning cause and effect. You can use metal cooking pots, paper cups, or even spice jars with noise-making items inside. Show baby how the items make sounds then give them to him to try. See if he will mimic you, and then take turns.
Baby Charlie is having a great time as a drummer with our salad tongs and is now recruiting a guitarist and a lead singer for his ragtime baby band.
Keep it up as they grow
Around 6 to 8 months, your baby will begin showing their mimicking skills from repeating your actions as well as developing their fine motor and hand-eye coordination. This is a great time to introduce musical play to their life and to work together on finding ways to enjoy music together.
Attend a class for you and baby
This was easier in the world before COVID-19, but there are many small businesses that offer guided classes for you and your little one. We have had experience with The Music Class and Music Together, but we know there are tons of amazing local music schools dedicated towards babies and toddlers. A simple web search for "baby and me music class" should bring you to the options in your area.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate music into baby's life? Share with us in the comments below!