Music is renowned for its power to diminish the stresses of the day, and a baby’s ability to wind down to some choice tunes is no different to our own.
Sound plays an important role in the development of a child in the womb, preparing it for the world outside, and studies have shown that babies can respond to music even within their mother’s body. Some studies even offer the argument that a child can gain a cognitive advantage from listening to classical music – a phenomenon known as the ‘Mozart effect’. Other researchers have found that children who learned to play an instrument for six months did better at spatial tasks and were more effective problem-solvers.
Whether these studies have a point or not, it is an indisputable fact that, when a baby is born, he experiences an orchestra of sounds – from the music that flows out of the radio as mum goes about her day, to the sound of dad’s voice, to the upbeat tracks and sound effects that come from toys and books. The world is alive with the sound of music, so why not complement your infant-care routine with your own playlist?
The sound of singing
Try playing classical or instrumental music to your child, being careful to keep the volume at a low level so as not to damage his sensitive ears. Or you could hone your karaoke skills by singing to him! Whether you think you sound like Celine Dion or Daffy Duck, studies have shown that the most effective sound for newborns is the sound of a parent singing to them, as babies love the rhythmic lull of a nursery rhyme and the familiarity of mum or dad’s tone. Babies don’t care about the quality of your voice – they simply love to hear the sound of the most important people in their world. If you’d feel more comfortable speaking than singing, then do so; any vocalization is important to young babies. Keep up a quiet chatter as you massage or play with your baby, and feel the bond between you strengthen.