How Does Music Benefit Children?

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You have probably heard your child humming or singing to himself. He may even make up his own songs and likes playing his imaginary guitar. Young children are musically creative by nature! They say that music is the universal language, besides being fun it is beneficial to children.

Studies show that music and movement have a positive effect on many areas of brain development. The repetition in music helps children identify and organize patterns, which helps their reading, math and memory skills.

Music also helps the brain process space and time. In fact, brain scans of professional musicians show that most of the cerebral cortex is active when they are playing music.

Other benefits of music and creative movement include:

♬ Relieving stress, strengthening muscles and refining movements.

♬ Enriching and supporting language development.

♬ Helping children learn to regulate their feelings and behavior.

♬ Encouraging children to calm, comfort and entertain themselves.

♬ Assisting children with transitions.

You can help your child keep his music creativity into adulthood in so many ways. You can start by surrounding your child with a wide variety of music. Tune in to what type of music family members like and play it often in the car and in the house. Teach your child simple songs or rhymes. Practice clapping to a beat.

Before your child makes his own music, he needs to experiment making all kind of sounds, and make and play simple instruments. Encourage your child to make noise with household objects like empty containers, ports and utensils. Offer him instruments to pluck, bang, and blow into. Start with ones he can use on his own. Good choices include, kazoos, harmonicas, rhythm sticks, xylophones, and maracas.

You do not have to be a musician to enjoy music with your child. Remember to always treat your child’s musical creativity with respect. Do not criticize his efforts or tell him he is singing the words wrong. By enjoying music with your child, you are building his confidence, working on his patience and discipline and also very important you are fostering creativity.

Parents As Teachers is a free and voluntary program that is available to all families with children ages 0-5 who live in Hoke County. Parent educators are available to help you be your child’s first, best, and most influential teacher. If you are interested in the Parents As Teachers program, contact Celeste Neumann at 910-875-2000, email csneuman@ncsu.edu, or stop by the Cooperative Extension office next to Turlington School.

Parents As Teachers is funded by Smart Start and administered by Hoke County Cooperative Extension.