Over the past few years I have noticed that a majority of the time when I am caring for infants and toddlers I will turn on music. Generally with newborns and infants I choose to play very soothing music such as gentle lullabies or the Soundscapes channel on TV. When I care for toddlers I will play fun, upbeat (and yes sometimes annoying J) kid’s songs invite the child to become involved either through the rhythm or by clapping, counting, singing along, etc.
I find that soft, gentle music helps keep me calm and at ease when caring for infants. During play time I may choose something a bit more upbeat, but when it is time to wind down, putting on Soundscapes helps calm my mind, which in turn helps calm baby. With toddlers who move a mile a minute, music helps bring us together for fun and learning. I have found that when toddlers seem to be interested in nothing else and near a meltdown, music can quickly draw them in and brighten their spirits.
So, music plays a large role in my world when caring for infants and toddlers, but is it just my imagination or does music really help “set the mood”?
Definitely! Think about how music affects you — how an upbeat tune fends off the blues and soft music helps you fall asleep. Your baby is no different. Lullabies have a proven track record for soothing infants — ask any parent who has resorted to singing them when the baby wakes up at 2 o’clock in the morning.
Music may even help strengthen premature babies. Researchers from Brigham Young University studied the effects of music on 33 premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. Cassette players piped voices of men and women singing lullabies into each baby’s isolette for 40 minutes a day for four days. When doctors examined the babies on the fourth day, they found that babies who were exposed to music gained more weight, and had lower blood pressure and a stronger heartbeat.
Music can benefit you, too. It has the power to lift your spirits, soothe your frayed nerves, and move you to dance. And music helps with bonding. Imagine the joy you’ll share with your child when you sway to the beat of a lovely melody (try Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”). Or how soothing it will be for you and your baby when you sing him a lilting lullaby (“Hush Little Baby” is always a winner).
~ S. Jhoanna Robledo
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
*Here are some of my favorite kinds of music and songs to listen to with children!
ROY G BIV by Patty Shukla – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzdm6P8Qwc , one little girl that was in my care for over one year was obsessed with this song! I swear I heard it in my sleep!
An example of Soundscapes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKS3QCd7-J0
Somewhere Over the Rainbow By Jewel – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUR0EeIz_Bw&feature=fvst
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAioeWL1xaU
The Wheels on the Bus with Barney and Friends – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsAzI4Jdsj0
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU