Singing out loud to your favorite song on the radio, whether it be Lady Gaga or The Eagles, may enhance your child’s hearing abilities suggests a recent study.
Researchers in the study, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, found that children who were exposed to informal musical activities at home had:
- heightened sensitivity to the changing rate of processing sounds
- advanced ability to detect sounds
- advanced ability to ignore distractions
Given the fact that children themselves actively engage in various musical behaviors such as singing and moving to the sound of music, it seemed quite plausible to researchers that informal musical activities would influence the development in early childhood. There is plenty of evidence that highlights the benefits of formal musical training for children. However, for the majority of children, musical experiences do not consist of formal training, but rather involve some type of musical play at home.
Sing & Play
Singing is one of the most common musical behaviors that parents and children engage in together. It has also been argued that parental singing is the most typical form of ‘live music’ that young children hear. For the purpose of this study the researchers examined the relationship between informal music activities (e.g., parents signing, musical play by the child) at home and neural auditory change in 2 to 3-year-old children.
Researchers found that children from more musically active homes seemed to have enhanced auditory attention in early childhood. This may also influence their later development of auditory skills for music perception, as well as, speech processing.
The Early Learning Program is designed to help children ages 3 to 5 develop learning readiness by reaching developmental milestones in hearing, balance, and communication through ten sequential levels of exercises. The Integrated Rhythms is for school-age children and includes 8 levels of movement exercises that incorporate rhythmic movement, listening, and talking. As children progress through the program levels they improve their ability to learn and automate new exercises, a key step in the process of developing learning readiness. At home, parents can include music in everyday activities at any age:
- Toddlers love to move to music, often a favorite song repeated. Try mixing it up by changing the words to silly phrases or adding in their names.
- Preschoolers love to sing along. Try songs about familiar things like toys, animals, people, and activities or familiar nursery rhymes.
- School-age children love songs involve school subjects. Try songs that include counting, spelling, or repeating back a sequence of events.
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