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Is Listening to Music Beneficial For Babies?

By Lynn Shear, edHelperBaby

Is Listening To Music Beneficial For Babies?
           The "Mozart effect" is the term used to refer to the positive impact music is thought to have on the intelligence of babies.  But can listening to music really make your child smarter?  It's hard to say, but there are plenty of good reasons to expose your baby to lovely music.

       It is well-known that music affects mood.  Soothing music calms people down; raucous music stirs them up.  For this reason, many parents depend on lullabies to help their children get to sleep.  And we all know how the booming rock-n-roll next door can wake up even the soundest sleeper.  Be aware of this as you establish your daily routine and consider choosing songs to compliment your day.  In the morning, play bright, happy songs.  Soft, soothing music is perfect for naptime and nighttime.  Use music to help set the tone, and your day will flow smoothly.

       Music has been proven to have health benefits for babies.  A study in Utah found that premature babies who had soothing lullabies piped into their isolettes for 40 minutes a day gained more weight and had lower blood pressures and stronger heartbeats than babies who were not exposed to music.  In Australia, researchers found that music therapy can help babies in intensive care, making them less irritable and less likely to cry.  Keeping this in mind, try playing music the next time your baby is sick or fussy.  It just may help!

       As far as actually making your baby smarter, there hasn't been enough research done to prove whether or not music can have an impact on intelligence.  However, even very young babies can tell the difference if music is played that is off-beat.  One study showed that babies have a long memory when it comes to music, remembering tunes up to twelve months after they had heard them in utero!  This demonstrates that music is making an impact on those young minds, and it certainly seems to be positive.

       Overall, music is another method of connecting with your child.  Provide plenty of opportunities for listening to and enjoying music, and you will both reap the benefits!


Parent Homework - Enjoying Music Together
           Playing musical games is a great way to incorporate music into your baby's day and have a great time doing it.  Here are a few ideas.       

       Toe Tap

       While singing a song, tap the bottom of your baby's feet to the rhythm.       

       Bouncy Bouncy

       While singing a familiar song or rhyme, bounce your child on your knee to the beat.       

       Dance Time

       Put on some music and dance with your baby.  Fast or slow, it doesn't matter.  Just enjoy!


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