Guest post: Babies face the music and reap the benefits
Last month saw the announcement of some ground-breaking research carried out across eleven different hospitals (as covered in the Daily Mail) – which revealed that playing live music to premature babies helps them to sleep and improves their breathing. As the Mummy of a premature baby myself – Curly Girl was born at 36 weeks weighing only four pounds – I really noticed the impact that music had on our daughter. So today I’m happy to publish this guest post from Jo Jingles on the power of music in early years development. Enjoy!
Exposure to music right from birth can really aid a child’s development according to Caroline Crabbe at Jo Jingles. Earlier this year, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed that she had been playing CDs by her favourite artists: ‘Adele’ and Ellie Goulding to her baby bump – so what’s good enough for the royal baby is certainly good enough for us one might think? But the truth is playing music to your unborn baby can have significant benefits in the early years…
Were you aware that around 20 weeks from conception your unborn baby can actually hear? This is because five weeks prior to birth, the cochlea, the spiral-shaped part of the inner ear responsible for hearing, is usually mature suggesting that prenatal hearing can help infants perceive the sounds of speech. Past studies from experts have also discovered that babies can recall melodies they have heard in the womb even a month after they are born.
- develop language, numeracy, concentration & listening skills
- develop self-confidence & independence
- develop physical co-ordination
- develop social skills
- develop intellectual & emotional intelligence
Of course, when it comes to music we now live in a very ‘digital age’ – but for this exercise, forget CDs and iPods – the best way to expose your unborn baby or child to music is to actually sing to them or with them yourself. Using the power of your own vocals to comfort and stimulate your child’s hearing will do wonders. There is nothing Babies love more than the sound of their mother’s voice and it doesn’t matter if you sing out of tune, or you mess up the words – it’s not important, your child won’t mind! Just keep smiling and encouraging them to join in and you’re onto a winner.
The beauty of enjoying music with your child is there is no right or wrong. No one will judge you and it should be fun (not a chore). Traditional nursery rhymes are really important when singing with a young child as they use repetition and actions to inspire coordination, balance and speech development; but if you fancy a change (particularly when pregnant), try choosing songs that make you feel on top of the world, songs that inspire happy memories, make you smile or simply those you love to bop along to. If you are feeling good, your baby will benefit from these feelings too.
Probably the greatest tip for pregnant mums-to-be is to record yourself singing your favourite tunes – then when you are shattered at the end of the day or you simply don’t feel like singing you can play the recording instead (this is great to use when baby comes along too – the perfect soothing remedy for your little one).
About Jo Jingles
Launched in 1991, Jo Jingles continues to promote learning through music across many of the UK’s nurseries, Sure Start Children’s Centres, playgroups and mother & toddler groups. Jo Jingles Birthday parties and celebrations are also available to book and a range of musical-themed merchandise including toys, CDs and musical instruments can be purchased online at www.jojingles.com.