As many of my regular readers will be aware I have taken part in many groups and activities with my little girl from her being a very young age, such as Water Babies, Baby Signing, Debutots and various music groups. I have written about my various experiences in my posts entitled Baby Swimming – An Amazing and Most Valuable Life Lesson, The Wonder That is Baby Signing and Fun Morning Out Trying Something New. I can’t reinforce enough how important I feel it is to engage and communicate with your child in a variety of manners from a young age. It really does help their development in so many different ways.
One of the things I have done from word go (literally) is sing and read to my little girl on a daily basis. Bedtime stories have been a part of our routine from the first few weeks of my daughter’s life and I have attended music groups with her since she was 6 weeks old and she’s still going to them now with my mum while I work.
Research has shown that singing songs and rhymes on a regular basis helps to widen your child’s vocabulary and listening skills and in-turn forms an essential part of learning to read, write and communicate. Singing teaches children how language is constructed and singing can help a baby to build up a vocabulary of sounds and words long before they actually understand the meaning.
For example a study published in Science Daily highlights how researchers at McMaster University have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk. They found that one-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music. A year-long programme conducted and published by the University of Cambridge also suggests that children who make music together are markedly more compassionate.
In addition Kids Health also highlights how children who actively take part in music do better in reading and math when they start school, are better able to control their bodies, play better with others and have higher self-esteem as their language / communication skills are likely to have developed to a good standard as a result of their interaction with music. According to Professor Gordon Shaw at the University of California, “Music helps children to learn maths.” Singing counting songs with your child (ie 3 little ducks, ten green bottles etc) helps them to relate to their own personal experiences and to recognise numbers, patterns and sequences within their immediate environment.
I think the evidence speaks for itself, and the fact that at 26 months old, my daughter can hold a full conversation with me, express her needs and recite a good dozen+ nursery rhymes, shows just how much all of her early experiences have paid off. I’ve had a number of people comment in recent weeks how good her communications kills are and it makes me really proud of her and pleased that I have been able to aid her development in this way. I am even more pleased that she can tell me what she wants, which will undoubtedly reduce a lot of frustration!
I was really interested to read the compassion article published by the University of Cambridge. Those who read my blog regularly will have read my posts such as Would My Disability Run in The Family? and Hobbling in Through Pregnancy Pains and Temper Tantrums and will therefore know that I am disabled and can struggle with my hips and back. I have been a bit overcome in the last week as my daughter has started asking me how my leg is and showing real empathy towards me. The other day I was putting her shoes on and struggled to get up from the floor, something pulled in my hip and I let a yelp out. She immediately asked if I was ok and I explained mummy’s leg was hurting but that I just needed a minute and I would be ok. She immediately replied “oh poor mummy, I cuddle you and give you a kiss”. It was so cute of her and really made me smile. I would never have associated her involvement in music with her ability to show compassion but if this is the case then that’s great and just another positive to all the hours of songs and nursery rhymes we have sung!
If you like what you are hearing then you will be pleased to know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of music groups throughout the UK that you can take your children to, ranging from independent organisations and Sure Start / Library groups, as well as the bigger national franchises such as Music Bugs.
Music Bugs is an award winning company that provides interactive music and singing classes for babies and children in various towns and cities throughout the UK. They run various classes aimed at a range of age groups, as well as sessions at Sure Start Centres, Nurseries, Pre-School and After School Groups. They also run birthday parties!
Classes are divided into age groups such as Baby Bugs (0-12 months), a multi-sensory introduction to music, Mini Bugs (6-24 months) encouraging interaction and movement with exciting props, counting and action songs etc and Jumping Bugs (18 months – 4 years) encouraging children to express themselves through music and movement and designed to build confidence and independence.
Music Bugs also run Family Bugs, sessions designed to involve all the family, which is great for someone like me who is about to have a newborn and a toddler as I can take both along for equal fun!
I can’t recommend groups like Music Bugs enough. I wholeheartedly think my involvement in taking my daughter to various groups like this since she was born and continuing to sing with her on a regular basis has helped her develop into the confident and communicative little girl she is today and know it will continue to help her. We sing daily and in addition to the bedtime story each night, we currently have to sing at least three nursery rhymes together before she will go to sleep… often many more! Favourites include Rock a Bye Baby, Hey Diddle Diddle, Mary Mary, Mary Had a Little Lamb and many more! She loves going to music groups and actively joins in dancing around, singing and having a go at actions. She also adores all the theme tunes and songs on CBeebies programmes and merrily dances around the living room to Justin’s House, Mr Bloom, Rhyme Rocket, Baby Jake, In the Night Garden and many many more! It’s lovely to watch and I am very happy to encourage it, we often get her music set out and shake the maracas and clap our hands to the music. She also asks me to turn the radio on whenever we are in the car and loves listening to all the various songs. I often sing along, talk to her about the songs and try to encourage her to join in.
All I can say is if you have a newborn (or even a younger baby) and have enjoyed reading this then what are you waiting for? Get googling and find out what classes are in you local area or see if there’s a Music Bugs group in your town too, I can promise you will have great fun, meet new mums and children and the long term benefits are evident!
I’d also love to hear any of my readers own experiences? Do you take your little one to a music group? Do they / you enjoy it? Have you seen the benefits? Please do leave me a comment.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and is based on my own experiences and opinions but was written with kind support from Music Bugs