Expose Your Toddler to Music

Music can help improve a toddler's intelligence, brain function, and general quality of life. Read on for more information on exposing your toddler to music.

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Exposure to music during a child's early years can enhance his learning process and have powerful effects on his development. Music stimulates the development of language, fosters creativity, strengthens coordination, and encourages social interaction. By incorporating music into your child's daily life you will provide him with an important resource for exploring his world. Children are natural musicians. Just by playing some well chosen selections in the background will stimulate his mind and body as he goes about his day.

Anyone Can Do It

You don't need to be a musician to help your young child discover and appreciate the existence of music. Even if you can't play a lick of piano or carry a decent tune, you can still hit the keys and hum. And the point is not to make a musician out of your child, either. He shouldn't be pressured into listening to or liking certain kinds of music. And he should never be pressured to perform on a musical instrument that does not stem from his natural curiosity or interest. It's not about meeting goals; it's about experience. A child with absolutely no musical aptitude will benefit from exposure to and interaction with music.

The Musical Environment

The right music can create various environments for your infant or toddler that can be conducive to different kinds of activity. Peaceful, lullaby music can soothe and quiet a child who needs to relax or be still. Bouncy music can encourage a child to get up and move, or if he's not there yet developmentally, to bounce in place and use his arms. It also serves as motivation to test the waters of standing up and even walking. Music can be a great encouragement for a toddler to take his first steps. A child's body will respond to different kinds of music in different ways and he will begin to sort out the different sounds and make his own associations. You can further foster a love of music in your child by interacting and participating in the experience with him. Bouncing him, rocking or patting him, singing with music or creating it yourself and imitating the sounds he makes in response to it all is a great way to have time with your child, while at the same time adding irreplaceable layers to his learning foundation.

Learning How the Body Talks

As a child grows, he will come to understand movement and body language to be a form of communication. Nonverbal communication is a big part of life. Using the hands to express ideas or sentiments comes naturally to a child. He stomps his foot when he's angry, he jumps around when he's happy. Music can connect him to his emotions and give him a vehicle for expression. This bolsters his language skills by motivating him to communicate and helping him feel comfortable with revealing his emotions and feelings. Through the use of sound a child will learn to interact with his environment through imitation. The patterns of sound and rhythm upon which music is based can be heard in the wind, in birdsong, even in a train rumbling by. In response a child may clap his hands, whistle or just give a shout. In any case, by connecting with and imitating these sounds a child develops an awareness of his surroundings that helps his ability to relate to and to interact with others.

Next Time Won't You Sing with Me?

Singing is a vital mode of development for language and vocabulary. To sing, a child must listen to the words, feel the intonations and timing. A child who acts up and sings deliberately off key or out of time is actually learning about music in a crucial way - by learning what (in a sense) music isn't. He's coming at musical knowledge from a different angle. This can be quite an effective learning tool. Songs that instruct a child in various forms of movement require and develop language skills as well as physical exercise, which builds strength and coordination. Jumping, twisting, clapping hands - it all develops in your child a relationship with the physical world that will serve him every day of his life, whether in the sports he plays or in just crossing the street.


Familiar music is important. As a child explores his world, touchstones of familiarity serve to anchor his experience and give him a break to integrate what he's learned. With music and dance, a child will encounter new aspects of his world. If he's learning to walk or talk, he'll meet with frustration. Familiar music gives him a backdrop that he's sure about while making his forays into the unknown. Later, when he's speaking and walking like a pro, familiar music will encourage the development of vocabulary and enable him to sing songs on his own, spontaneously. With a repertoire of familiar songs he may begin to understand music as a form of creative expression he can use in his own way. This will engender a level of musical exploration that could lead him to take up and instrument.

Give Her a Pot to Pound On

This tendency toward musical expression need not wait until your child is walking and talking. Infants love making noise. Give your baby a variety of noisemakers so he can explore the differences in sound. Rattles, bells, drums, xylophones and shakers are great for children in the earliest stages of motor development. All they need to do is grasp and hit. Strings and instruments you blow into are good for older children. You don't need to spend a lot of money on your toddler's musical arsenal. A wooden spoon and a few pots or coffee cans of different sizes will do to get him started. If he displays a particular love of sound you might consider spending some money on well-chosen equipment down the road.

A lifelong passion for music begins with simple enjoyment. Kids love sound. Making sound helps them feel their creative ability and gives them a sense of control and the ability to connect with the outside world. That's the beginning of expression and relationship. Exposure to music opens a new dimension in your child's early perspective that can have far-reaching effects on how he sees life, himself and other people.

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