Music, the universal language that offers us the possibility to express ourselves. We are so used to music, as part of our daily life that we sometimes forget to understand how important it is.
Practitioners and specialists have been interested in and intrigued by the consequences music has on the toddler’s development through music.
Music, the universal language we all understand
Today, we have many studies that emphasize the positive results that music has on children and the benefits we experience while introducing music in our daily lives.
Our auditory system connects the ear to the brain to help it to process the sounds. When we hear something, the ear percepts it as vibration and transform it into a nervous stimulus. Then, it is sent to the brain so after it reaches the auditory cortex. By studying the way it is processed, helped scholars reached the conclusion that studying music has helped children process easier sounds.
In this article, we want to take a closer look at the connection between the toddler’s development and music. We think many parents face many challenges while trying to prioritize the activities for their children. We have so many options, that we might feel overwhelmed. We want to help parents introduce music in their lives as a natural part of daily activities. First, let’s discuss why it is important to help the child develop his musical skills.
Toddlers and music in daily activities: 7 benefits parents and teacher should consider
If you have a baby in the house, you have probably seen how easy is to communicate with the child through music. But how beneficial really is for toddlers?
There are hundreds of research which attest the benefices music has on toddlers. The renowned Lucian Pavarotti has said that “Children who are not introduced to music from a very young age, are being refused the access to something fundamental for their life”.
Even Maria Montessori has emphasized that the best time to introduce music to children is between 2 and 6 years. Because this period is considered a sensitive period of learning. If a skill is not learned during the sensitive period of learning, then the learning opportunity is lost.
Music develops toddlers’ Language skills
Toddlers who are involved in music activities have an increased probability to learn how to speak and to pronounce correctly. By remembering lyrics, they develop their vocabulary and feel more confident about talking. Songs that use rhyming sounds and words are perfect for developing the language skills of the toddler. Also, learning catchy songs in other languages will help the toddler learn a different language. It is a great way to improve the communication skills of any toddler.
Music develops toddlers’ Mathematics skills
Memory, a skill needed by toddlers later in school, is been developed very well through the help of music. And for those who want to emphasize mathematics skills, it has been proven that by taking piano lessons, it helps toddlers understand better the concept of numbers and science.
Music prepares toddlers for school
There are several skills that are developed through music that help the toddler to prepare for school (when music is introduced as a group activity), such as: waiting for your turn to sing, learning how to overcome your fears of performing, being part of a team and working with others in synchrony to obtain your goals.
Music develops the social abilities of the toddler
Toddlers might be frightened to express their emotions or connect with others. Music gives them the freedom to express themselves. If you have a shy kid, you might see a transformation through music. If you sing a song with your toddler or play an instrument, it will help him in a greater way that reading to him. Although all are connecting activities that help the communication level, the emotional relationship is slightly reinforced through the help of music. And in return, it will help the child develop better his social skills.
Music helps toddlers to develop their motor skills
Toddler love to get involved in activities. So instead of them just listing to a song, let them get involved. Maybe you know several songs that can be done with fun movements that are easy to learn. Or let them play musical instruments. By allowing themselves to express through music with their bodies too, we are helping them develop their motor skills.
The best educational wooden maracas for toddlers should be coloured and in an appropriate size
They also learn to use their hands and how to work with small objects and how to get different sounds. We think as parents or teachers, we want to see results in the development of the child, and we emphasize the language skills and mathematics skills. But, because our children spend less time in nature, motor skills play a fundamental role in their future development.
Music teaches toddlers to have patience
Today, our children are so easily distracted by so many external noises and disruption. And we see more and more children losing their patience. We know how important this skill is for a healthy adult, and we are happy that children can develop it throw music.
We have a special window when we talk about toddlers and music. This is the best period for them to learn about music, and to express themselves throw music. But the potential will not be achieved if children are asked to sit still and listen to music. They should be encouraged to actively participate in the activity, to move, sing, and play.
Music fosters creativity
Children are creative from birth. But without proper encouragement and changes to develop the creativity part, somewhere during their childhood they lose this important skill. We only observe at older children, that they do not know how to play or how to create. They focus mainly on reproducing the patterns they were learned. In order to prevent that, we must give the toddler’s chance to develop their creativity and not lose it. It is harder later to teach the child or the teenager to be creative than to develop it at a younger age.
Music Education: relevant aspects for parents and teachers
All the studies and research in the domain agree that the results are seen in time (after several months, usually). So, it has to be a continuous exercise until we get to see changes in the child’s development. Of course, any teacher knows that even though children start at the same time, there are several differences that influence how well a child is improving his development through music.
We just want to emphasize the importance of having patience with the toddlers and with seeing results. Music is a fundamental part of education for toddlers. In Montessori classrooms, music has been added in the daily curriculum through various activities. But it can be easily done at home or in the traditional classroom.
But besides the proven positive effects music has on the development of toddler’s, we must not forget one simple reason we should introduce music in our children play: it is fun. We must all remember from our own childhood what an impact the simple plays had. And how much fun we had with few instruments or materials. Any object can be an instrument and add value to our excitement.
Toddlers love to express themselves through music. Even though the toddlers cannot express themselves through words entirely, they will be able to express their uniqueness through music. It can be a great way to tell us about their day, or if something is bothering them. And it is a fun activity that we will help them relax. And we need more relaxing activities in our children’s program.
Of course, if we observe that we have a very talented child who wants to learn how to play an instrument, go for it. Even though he does not practice it for a long time, or does not get to a professional level, it will help him learn how to stay focused and continue with an activity even when it is hard. And we believe that it is what parents and teachers are striving for. Preparing our children with tools that will guide them and help them to be functional and independent adults. And sometimes, these tools come from inside ourselves.
More than that, the usage of music for children’s development has been relevant and had positive outcomes for children with disabilities too. Of course, here we talk about specialized professionals who can help the child and parents, but the benefits are there.
But music only is not the found secret for a child’s development. For a proper development and growth, we shouldn’t rely only on music. They need a whole and extensive development for a healthy growth and a happy toddler. Just emphasizing on one aspect will not help the child in the long term.
Activities to try at home or in the classroom
Now that we have discussed extensively about the benefits music brings in our toddler( either at home or in a group), we want to give you ideas of activities you can try, following the Montessori philosophy.
If you have a toddler at home, you can start with simple songs. Because they love the repetition, try to focus on the same song. After the child has learned the song, you can change one word from it to see if he pays attention. There are great songs, where we use repetition, such as: ‘’the wheels on the bus; London bridge; Itsy bitsy spider.’’ Find your child’s favorite and have fun with it.
- You can have a fun activity if you prepare a musical show. You do not need complicated items, you can use instruments like the ones in the pictures. This activity can be easily done at home, or in the classroom. ( While a part of the class sings, the other can dance). These types of activities are preferred by children and can be a break from other kinds of more static activities. In line with Montessori philosophy, we encourage you to use as natural and simple instruments as possible( maybe you have bells or other simple instruments the children can use). Or use the most natural instruments available- our children voices.
Teach parents the songs used in the classroom, so they can continue the activity at home. It will be a great bonding activity that everyone can enjoy.
- At your next outdoor activity, try to pay attention to the music of nature. Involved the children by emphasizes on the different sounds you might encounter: the songs of the birds (and how different are they, the cricket, the bee, the river if you have water nearby). Let them be the ones who lead this activity and discover new sounds.
- If you discover that you have a toddler enthusiastic of music at home, you can go further and introduce the child to an instrument. You can go to a local music shop and see what sparks his interest. Or you can go to a concert or listen to classic music at home to see his reaction. The toddler will let you know which one is his favorite. At first, you might think that he is too little to learn an instrument. But you will be surprised by how fast they learn at this age and how attentive are to all the details.
The concept of music education has begun to win over both parents and teachers. There has been done a tremendous effort from scholars to identify different outcomes music has on children. We have a great opportunity in front of us. The age of toddlers makes them perfect to be interested in developing their musical skills.
If you are interested in adopting Montessori philosophy at your home or in the classroom, music can be a great place to start. After all, music is seen as an integral component for the Montessori classrooms. It should be a standard for all classrooms. Why not choose something that brings joy and fun to the children? And they get to learn and develop during the activity.