The Benefits of Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes

Playing lullaby music to babies and children

Like most parents, if you hear a baby crying you will do what parents across the world have done for generations. You will calm them with anything in your power including feeding, rocking, and singing. Why does singing nursery rhymes to babies work so well in calming them down? Because babies can discriminate rhythmic patterns. Babies, from the day they are born, can detect differences in rhythmic patterns. This was discovered in 2009 by a group of researchers in Hungary and the Netherlands who measured the brain Miss Polly Had Dolly nursery rhymewaves of day-old infants listening to rhymes. That means that the ability to discriminate these patterns is innate. But that is not the only proven link between music and babies. In fact, studies now indicate that infant’s development is improved with music. Singing to infants is the first lesson they receive in language and in doing so, you can help to prevent future language learning problems.

Infant-directed music is actually a type of communication between children and their caregivers or parents which involves a manner of sing-song speaking, play songs, and lullabies. Around the world this is done characterized by singing or speaking with an emotional voice quality, a slower tempo, or a raised pitch. This method of singing is what is referred to as “infant-directed singing”. It is important because there is an evolutionary link between child develop and this type of singing.

In fact, research indicates that the use of this form of music will improve the mood of an infant, regulate their arousal level, and strengthen the emotional bond between the child and the person singing.  By regulating arousal and improving mood, this also facilitates sleeping and feeding among infants and thereby improves their development.

When lullabies or nursery rhymes are sung to children, they need to be just that: sung. The children should never be exposed to music via headphones, because the ears of an infant are highly sensitive and headphones can cause permanent damage. So whether you are a great singer meant for the stage, or you are tone deaf, you should sing to the child. The baby does not care how talented you are. In fact, they prefer your voice and the connection to your singing, no matter how bad you might think it.

Infantsin utero can actually be sung to at 25 weeks. This is when the auditory signals begin to process sound and also why a newborn is already familiar with their mother’s voice. Singing to a fetus while pregnant helps the baby to become familiar not just with your voice but with the nursery rhymes you are using. As a result, when the child hears them later in life, the songs will have an immediate calming effect. Singing to children with nursery rhymes is, in effect, one of the best ways in which parents can connect to their babies and help to expedite cognitive, emotional, and language development.

Please enjoy our version of Pachelbel Johann Baby Lullaby

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