People from all cultures have sung to their babies forever - special songs that are usually sung at a slightly higher pitch, at a slower tempo and in a more loving tone than other songs. These special songs are really important for babies’ and children’s development.
Comfort, calming and bonding Babies feel comforted by the rhythmic sounds of rhymes and songs and feel a close bond with you as you sing to them. Babies often cry reflexively out of shock and discomfort and singing a familiar song will calm your baby (and you) and provide a distraction.
Language acquisition Learning to understand language and speak is so much more than learning words – it is a complex task of understanding the structure and rules of language. When children listen to songs and rhymes, they are hearing these language rhythms, sound patterns and rhymes in an easy, natural way. When you tap or clap along to the beat, your child develops an awareness of syllables and sounds. And when you use different tones of voice for happy and sad songs, you are showing your child how language conveys emotion. All these things help children in the complex task of learning to speak and understand language.
Stories and reading Many songs and rhymes have simple narratives and will engender a love of stories in your child. It’s never too early to share books, and your child will enjoy pointing to the pictures and talking about what is going on. Familiarity with stories, and all that understanding of rhythm and rhyme and sound pattens will be an enormous benefit to your child once they start to learn to read.