The role of music in early childhood development: benefits and strategies

Have you ever noticed the way your little one’s face lights up when they hear a song they recognise? Or how they instinctively sway to the rhythm of a catchy tune? From soothing melodies that put them to sleep to dance-inspiring songs, music has a magical ability to stimulate our little one’s emotions. But did you know that music has the ability to nurture their growing minds too? Read on as we dive into how music plays a big role in early childhood development. We’ll explore science-backed benefits and some practical ways you can incorporate music into your family’s daily routine.

So, how does music inspire and grow young minds?

Physical and emotional harmony

When kids move along to music, whether through dancing, clapping, or playing instruments, their fine motor skills are engaged. Learning a dance is way more than just a fun activity for little ones because it promotes coordination, balance, and timing. 

Music also has a profound impact on emotions. Listening to calming melodies can soothe anxious or restless children, while upbeat tunes can boost their moods and energy levels. This effect encourages kids to express themselves based on how certain music is making them feel, as well as learning how to regulate their emotions as they respond to it. 

But all of this development is far deeper than surface-level ability. In fact, more and more research is showing just how effective music can be for kids in early childhood development. 

  • Recent studies in brain science have revealed that music:
  • Helps kids think faster and get stuff done more efficiently.
  • Let them use all kinds of skills at once, like a real multitasking pro.
  • Boosts connections in the brain that help with both music and language. 

Now, let’s look into all the ways this is possible. 

Moving, learning, growing 

Music activities in groups are an excellent way of encouraging collaboration and teamwork. When little ones sing a song together, play instruments together or learn a dance, they’re building their abilities to communicate and cooperate, as well as learning to work as a team, which fosters healthy social skills.

Music is also a great confidence builder in children from an individual point of view. It allows kids to express themselves through dance and movement. It also, quite literally, gives little ones a voice. Activities like karaoke are amazing confidence builders, inspiring little ones to test the capabilities of their voices and use them to speak up for themselves. 

Singing out loud doesn’t just build self-esteem. It’s also a catalyst for speaking and cognitive ability. When kids follow along with the karaoke, they’re learning new words and pronunciation, by linking different sounds to corresponding letter combinations. This builds their vocabularies and their speaking ability and becomes a strong foundation for literacy. 

Playing a role 

Music is an amazing way to let little imaginations run wild. But it also promotes free thinking and problem-solving. The second a child is handed a musical instrument, the learning begins. They’ll start trying out how the instrument works, and learning how to get the desired sound out of it. Even in the early stages, learning to play an instrument engages different parts of the brain, enhancing cognitive abilities like memory, attention and discipline. 

The benefits of music extend past playing an instrument. Listening to music even has incredible educational value. You’ll probably have heard of parents playing their kids genres like classical music because it stimulates little ones’ brains. Well, here’s how that works.

When kids listen to music they begin to learn patterns, rhythm and repetition. Being able to recognise patterns and structure in music actually lays the groundwork for things like mathematical concepts and counting ability, which they’ll use later in their schooling careers.

How to use music for development at home

Here are some simple, but effective ways to use music to build into your little one’s abilities. While they have tons of fun, of course. 

  • Kickstart your day with a cheerful song or energising dance party to set a positive tone for the day ahead.
  • Encourage your child to experiment with different instruments, from homemade shakers to toy pianos, and watch their creativity and learning abilities blossom.
  • Add a musical twist to storytime by incorporating sound effects, character voices, or improvised songs to make storybooks come alive.
  • Turn household chores into fun-filled moments by cranking up the tunes and dancing together as a family while tidying up or preparing meals.

Music to your ears

Music is more than just beautiful melodies and groove-inspiring beats. It’s a tool we can use to develop and grow our little ones in many different areas of their young lives. While you do what you can at home, it’s great to know that your kids are reaping all the benefits of music at school too! 

At Child’s Play, we’ve built a range of musical activities into our curriculum, to ensure that your little ones develop as much as they can. We see kids growing in confidence, forming friendships as they dance and sing in groups, and engaging in deeper learning as they begin to develop new skills. We could always add another budding musician to our group, so get in touch with us today!