Born to dance: Why music is so good for babies
The benefits of music and dance for babies are boundless – so turn up the tunes and let your little one drop it like a tot.
Regardless of how you feel about your dance moves now, it seems we are all were born to do it – and dancing from young age may make us smarter.
A study based on babies aged between five months and two years old, found that humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music. According to the findings, babies respond to the rhythm and tempo of music, and they find it more engaging than speech.
The researchers also found that the better the children were able to synchronise their movements with the music, the more they smiled.
Can bouncing to a beat boost your baby’s brain?
Research also suggests that exposing your baby to music and dance from a young age might improve their processing of both music and with speech development.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a series of play sessions with music improved nine-month-old babies' brain processing of both music and new speech sounds. According to the authors, the results indicated that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech.
Another two-year study by researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) found that a child’s brain develops faster with exposure to music. The results of this study indicated that exposure to music and music instruction accelerates the brain development of young children in the areas responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception.
Dancing with your baby
Erynn Binns, Director of Bop Along Baby Music, is an expert in teaching babies to dance. She says that when it comes to introducing music to babies – the earlier the better.
“We know that it’s important to be creative with babies, to use various textures in our voice in our story telling,” she says. “Singing and playing music aligns and complements this idea.”
Erynn says there are simple ways parents can encourage their babies to start dancing, like sharing their music with them and playing music at home.
“Your enthusiasm will become a lovely reflection in them and hopefully this will result in passionate, interested and confident children.”