Did you know, music can help children learn language? Music can facilitate an increase in children’s consonant inventory, frequency of vocalizations, and vocabulary. It has also been proven that singing words can make them easier to remember. Furthermore, the ability to distinguish sounds helps babies develop language. Incorporating songs and music into your child’s daily routine can be enjoyable and also help them learn language!
Music development begins pre-birth. Babies can actually hear their mother’s voices in the womb, usually the fetal auditory system is functional throughout the third trimester. Fetuses have been observed to react to auditory stimuli including music and their mother’s voice starting at 28-30 weeks. Babies have been proven to demonstrate a sensitivity and preference to their mother’s voice and music they listened to in the womb.
How can you use music to facilitate language learning?
Try singing songs face to face so your child can watch your articulators move. They pay attention to your face and will watch you make different sounds and noises. Mothers naturally exaggerate critical acoustic features to help our children learn language. Children also love songs that go along with movement, like Mommy Finger and the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Music brings language to life. Kids can learn words through rhythm and song and sometimes songs and rhythms can get stuck in your head. Songs and rhythms can get stuck in children’s heads too. First, they will learn the melody and then they will learn the words that go with the songs.
Some of my favorite songs for language learning are:
– The Wheels on the Bus
– Happy and You Know It
– The Itsy bitsy Spider
– Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
How else can you use music throughout the day?
Music can also change a child’s mood, just like it can change an adult’s mood. Turning on happy upbeat music while you take a bath or play in the living room can make one’s mood more upbeat and have a positive effect. Try putting on music during a stressful part of your day. It is always difficult for me to get my kids out of the house and into the car quickly without tears or distractions. As soon as we are in the car I turn on upbeat music and it quickly lifts my mood and my children’s moods.
We also use music to calm us down. Try singing soothing songs to your child before they go to bed. It is good for their development but will also help them relax for a good night’s sleep.
Some of my favorite lullabies to sing are:
– You Are My Sunshine
– Somewhere Over the Rainbow
– This Little Light of Mine