Hearing is one of the first senses babies are able to develop. Research shows that babies start beginning to hear sounds from the outside world at around 18 weeks of age. That’s how early babies in their mothers’ wombs are able to experience the world outside of their cosy cocoon. This is why expecting parents are advised to constantly talk, sing, and vocalise whatever it is they want their babies to learn, even while still pregnant.
Here are some functions that music serves in your child’s early development.
Parents and caregivers often resort to lullabies to calm babies and young children down and lull them to sleep. The soft, rhythmic sounds connect with babies and young children’s brainwaves, introducing a soothing pattern that decreases their arousal levels. This helps babies and young children wind down from a period of active play to a resting mode. As mothers sing their lullabies in a soothing pattern, these calming tones reverberate to babies and helps lower their physiological and behavioural states.
Music through lullabies help parent and child connect. For example, a 2018 study showed that mother and child arousal levels match both when in a playful active session and a soothing sleepy winding down session. As a mother sings to her baby, it showed that the baby matched his/her physiological and behaviour changes with their mother.
Researchers also found out in a separate study that toddlers were more helpful to adult strangers whom they’ve bounced with synchronously. Music, with its rhythmic patterns, help babies and toddlers connect with their families, caregivers, and strangers easier despite their still limited communication skills.