Whether it was alongside the campfire or a family road trip or a fun karaoke night in the living room, singing has played a key role in many great childhood memories. Even as grownups, many of us have an uncanny ability to recall a childhood song word by word, while more pressing matters like remembering a password or a person’s phone number elude us.
Ask any parent - they know their child's current favorite tune. It is probably the one they belt out in every car ride or beg mom or dad to "play it again!" If it is featured in a favorite TV show or movie, then you know it will be sung over and over... and over!
But guess what parents? That's a good thing! Multiple studies have found encouraging a child to sing to the music is extremely beneficial to their development.
The Power Of Song
Little minds are like sponges; they absorb lots of information. When those tidbits come in the form of song, the brain processes the information more easily. According to Andra Duncan, a musical therapist at the Music Institute of Chicago, singing can help in a myriad of ways, including memory. It is an easier format for a young one to understand. That is why they can remember every word to the alphabet song.
Aside from building a stronger memory, singing also builds social skills. “If it is (singing) that is motivating for that child,” Andra Duncan told WF, “then you can use it to address social skills.”
In situations like a school performance or a duo singing karaoke, the child is forced to work with others, which helps them learn about teamwork. This helps build self-esteem and a tolerance for working with others.
“It’s a great way to learn and expand their language in a fun way...”
In order for a child to thrive when singing, Duncan notes that it is the parent’s role and responsibility to guide the child. “Adults must make sure it feels safe, set the standard and the guidelines... children need lots of encouragement.”
Lasting Effects of Singing
Even when a child does not know the words, having them sing with the music can not only build their confidence, but also help them develop their language skills.
“It’s a great way to learn and expand their language in a fun way,” Duncan says. For the kids, “it doesn’t seem like work.”
Singing contains multiple sounds, rhymes and rhetoric that can be a learning opportunity for a child. It is also a way to work on phonics! According to Scholastic.com, phonics are hard to understand when a child has never been exposed to such sounds. To ensure such exposure, they suggest listening to music and singing along.
Who knew a sing-along song could have such a big impact?
It’s such an easy thing to do - just hit play and sing with your young one, they may learn a thing or two from you!
Share the mic with your little ones and feel good about rocking out!