Goodbye, iPod: How Singing to Your Kids Improves Development

Health & Wellness on 05.17.11


All those songs you're singing to your baby -- night time lullabyes, your favorite pop hits in the car, the oldies your mom sang to you -- may be doing a lot more for your child's development than you think.

The Stir references a piece from The Guardian, in which Sally Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in England, says that singing to children who are too young to speak can encourage better language skills in the future. 

In her book, The Genius of Natural Childhood, Blythe explains that the combination of music and lyrics requires a baby to use more of its brain. "Song is a special type of speech," she says. "Lullabies, songs, and rhymes of every culture carry the 'signature' melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child's ear, voice, and brain for language."

But if you think you can just choose your favorite album and let your iPod do the performing for you, think again: Recorded music doesn't have the same effect as a parent's singing. "Babies are particularly responsive when the music comes directly from the parent," says Blythe. "Singing along with a parent is for the development of reciprocal communication."

What's your favorite song to sing to your baby?

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