The benefits of music in your baby’s development

It’s great to foster a love of music early in your baby’s life but did you know about the benefits of music in your baby’s development? We discuss this topic with Caroline Crabbe of Jo Jingles and Halilit

Encouraging your little one to enjoy music is a great way of strengthening the bond between parent and child but it also provides some very real benefits to their ongoing physical and mental ability. This will aid them in their early development before to going to school and also beyond. Indulging in more regular song-time at home and encouraging your baby to play with musical instruments will also provide your child with clear learning progression as they grow.

The transition from pre-school to infant school is an important time in the early years’ development process. Your once ‘babbling’ toddler has grown into a little person, with their own opinions, ideas and conversations – not to mention a relentless thirst for learning. Increased exposure to music and singing in advance of full-time education can really make a difference to your child’s development, helping them to hit the ground ‘sprinting’ when they start school.

Music is universal; it appeals to all cultures, all ages and all abilities. It’s also an important part of the school curriculum. Listening to music and actively taking part in singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument are all important in stimulating a child’s learning curve and developing a range of physical and emotional skills which will benefit them now and later in life.

Rhyme time

You can help to boost your child’s language skills by focusing on nursery rhymes. It’s no great coincidence that popular nursery rhymes are quite repetitive – think about ‘Row, row, row your boat’ or ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ – the repetition is key to this process of creating linguistic building blocks upon which little brains can start to make meaningful associations and melodic experimentations via simple rhythmic patterns. The use of repetition along with actions will help to inspire coordination, balance and speech development.

Even simple songs like ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ help children to learn about the world around them – vital in the transition to a new school environment. Singing songs with numbers in them can also help young children to learn to count; some traditional songs even contain elements of subtraction (such as Five Little Ducks) so you might not realise that your child is being exposed to some of the simplest forms of mathematics through music and song! Exploring concepts such as colours, animals, transport and even telling the time through song will all help with your child’s motor skills and general coordination as they prepare for school.

Try to ensure that any exposure to music is interactive and accompanied with movement where possible. Many nursery rhymes come complete with a set of ‘actions’ – ‘I’m a little teapot’ or ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. Children can express themselves through movement long before they can verbalise. They also need to learn to hone their sense of balance and to control their limbs. Movement to music has also been shown to help a child express feelings and moods as they learn to interpret the music that they hear.

Playing musical instruments is a great way to teach children about different sounds and allows them to express themselves whilst developing hand-eye co-ordination in a rhythmical way. Percussion instruments like those available from Halilit are a fantastic sensory experience for little ones as well as encouraging fine motor skills by baby learning to ‘grab’, ‘reach for’ and ‘move’ the instruments to explore the sound.

And finally, don’t forget about all of the social and emotional benefits associated with music; encouraging this kind of musical activity in advance of starting school can really help with self-expression and confidence in later life.

So, here are a few simple tips to get you started

  • Sing with your child regularly, it doesn’t matter where or when you do it, just do it as often as you can
  • Don’t worry if you fluff the words or think your sing out of tune – the reality is, be enthusiastic about it and your child will be too.
  • Make music actively – it’s not enough to just put on a CD, if you don’t interact with them, it will wash over their head.
  • Don’t over complicate things young children respond best to easy uncomplicated songs and nursery rhymes rather than those more suited to a nightclub.
  • Use simple actions – it is great fun and will help your child’s coordination no end.
  • Make some home-made instruments to get truly musical – banging yoghurt pots together or using a cardboard crisp tube with a handful or dried pasta – makes a great shaker.  Equally saucepan lids are great self-made cymbals!
  • Invest in some percussion instruments – there are some great ranges available from suppliers like Halilit – rainmakers, bells, maracas, tambourines, castanets and so on and these are all available from high street shops or online.
  • Sing with your child regularly, it doesn’t matter where or when you do it, just do it as often as you can


Courtesy of Caroline Crabbe, General Manager at Jo Jingles and Halilit.

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