Anyone who knows me knows that music is something very dear to me. As a childcare provider, I love having the opportunity to share some of my favorite sounds with the next generation. I was just doing some research on the best music for babies and toddlers, and I came up with an overwhelming list of contradicting ideas.
Pop Hits or Nursery Rhymes?
Yes, there’s music specifically made for children, but I wanted to go beyond that. Believe me, there’s only so many times one can take “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and even “Baby Shark”, no matter how many versions they make. Even I realize that our lives are filled with variety and kids should be exposed to some of that variety as well. In talking with some co-workers, they would say that nobody even listens to the traditional nursery rhymes anymore.
Shelves are filled with Kidz Bop CDs featuring pop hits sung by children (with some minor tweaking to lyrics of course). Then Spotify’s playlists for kids feature more family-friendly pop hits such as Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! Some of my associates believe this is the devil’s music with it comes to babies. According to them, pop music has no place in space for babies and toddlers. As far as I’m concerned, the benefits of music for kids outweighs the risks.
You can tailor Pandora to include just about any music you want but, honestly, some of the ready-made stations geared towards children are a bit repetitive and lack variety. It takes Pandora a while for you to create a custom station that truly fits your needs. If you’re in a classroom environment (or even a busy parent), you can hardly stop what you’re doing and tell Pandora whether or not you like every song.
So you have to wonder, will a little Beyonce really hinder my baby? Will they be scarred for life if they bounce to Drake instead of Raffi? Or, heaven forbid, your toddler actually learns the lyrics to a song with content matter far beyond their years?
Let me take a break for a moment and take you back to my childhood. My Mom stayed at home with me and I really don’t remember her ever playing “kid music”. My parents had the attitude “You came into my life, I didn’t come into yours. So you listen to what I play.” The only time I ever heard so-called “kid music” was when I went to preschool, and even then it was in limited quantities.
Am I a horrible person since my parents only played pop music in the house when I was little? On the contrary, I believe I’m a well-rounded person, open to new experiences, and I can listen to popular songs from my childhood with feelings of nostalgia.
If you’re trying to decide what music is best for kids, simply go with the music you like. They’ll like it too. Don’t worry if it’s not “kid music”.
Music and Development
We all know by now that music has some effect on the developing mind of a baby. The debate is exactly what is that effect. I spent some time researching what experts have to say. Some believe that babies thrive best in silence, where they can best hear the different sounds in language and they’ll have an easier time telling foreground sounds from background sounds.
I agree that it’s not healthy to have any kind of music blasting non-stop all day long. Just like us, children become overstimulated. Turning off electronics gives them a chance to unwind. A quiet environment where you talk to your baby gives them a chance to distinguish between different sounds.
On the other hand, the world we live in isn’t silent, so why should your house be? Outside of setting aside quiet play and rest time for your baby, music does have a positive impact on baby’s development. And guess what? It doesn’t have to be Mozart. Babies love the exotic sounds of world music. Get creative!
Key Effects on Baby’s Development Include:
Memory: Babies as young as 3 months use music to help them remember things. Music most likely is a very important part of the learning process.
Language: Music and language are very closely intertwined. Music helps babies to distinguish between sounds in letters and (this also ties back to memory) helps them remember auditory data.
Mathematics: You may have heard of the connection between classical music training and mathematics. In elementary school, studies have revealed that children who received intense musical instruction performed better in math lessons that children who didn’t. It’s believed that music helps children to understand concepts in mathematics.
Emotional Intelligence: By listening to classical music, your baby will also learn to develop an awareness of changes in mood and emotions and make the connections to their own feelings.
Great Baby Music and Videos…
If you’re on the hunt for an alternative to the classic and traditional baby songs, try some of my favorites.
If you’re looking for free music for kids on YouTube, try some of these great background music videos. There are no lyrics and it gives your child exposure to fun different sounds. This is only a selection, there are TONS more!
…or on Audio Recording!
From David Bowie to Beyonce, you can find lullaby renditions of your favorite songs with Rockabye Baby! Many of their collections are available with Amazon Prime!
A collection of CDs with kid-friendly music inspired all over the world, your child will enjoy learning about different cultures. The CDs come in a range of sleepy and playtime music.