Singing is such a popular and fun activity that humans have engaged in for thousands of years. From folk songs to lullabies to the different music genres that we hear today, singing is a part of life for many people around the world. But singing is not just an entertaining activity; it also has numerous benefits especially when it comes to children’s development, mostly in early childhood.
In fact, research has shown that singing can have a positive impact on children’s language, cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and creative skills. In this blog, we will explore the various benefits of singing in early childhood in more detail. Additionally, find some useful tips and resources for parents on how they can help their child incorporate singing into their daily routines.
So, let’s dive in and discover the power and benefits of singing for young children!
How Can Singing Support Your Child’s Development?
In addition to children’s natural need to create, discover and play, singing is one of the fun activities that all kids are drawn to. Besides, music in general is incorporated into every preschool lesson plan and is encouraged right from birth. So, how does singing help kids learn?
Language and Vocabulary
Singing exposes children to new words, phrases, and sentence structures, which can enhance their language development. Children are also exposed to a wide range of topics through songs which are not covered in everyday interactions. Thus, singing songs is a great way to build vocabulary in young children.
Even babies tend to slowly pick up the sounds that are part of their mother tongue and eventually learn to distinguish the words and phrases once they start listening to songs.
Children who listen to stories and sing songs and rhymes develop a far greater vocabulary than those who don’t.
- As children hear new words in a song, they can learn the meaning of the words and understand how to use them in the right context.
- Singing also provides a fun and enjoyable way for children to repeat words and phrases. Repetition helps children to remember information.
Kids do not just pick up words from singing – but they can pick up an entire language structure. When they listen to songs, children are also exposed to sentence construction and word order as well as the grammar of a language. As they listen to more and more songs they gain knowledge about the descriptive language and action words.
Singing helps children to remember information more clearly, as they are able to recollect the words and melodies of songs easily. Children’s auditory memory is strengthened by listening to and singing the words of songs. As a parent, you must have put on rhymes such as “twinkle, twinkle, little star” or “five little ducks” or “baa baa black sheep” for your child to listen. With time your toddler starts remembering the tune and the lyrics. He/she starts singing the song next. That is the power of music and singing.
Alternatively, memory is also a necessary skill for learning to read. This skill can be built easily with songs, rhymes, listening activities and other memory games.
Songs can be good for a child’s emotional development. Singing can help them express their emotions more openly. In general, music has a powerful effect on emotions, evoking feelings of joy, sadness, or nostalgia.
When children sing, they also tend to use their whole bodies to express themselves. This helps them to better understand and control their emotions. They sort of develop emotional intelligence. Meanwhile, singing a movement song can be used to lift the mood and get kids to be more active and involved.
Singing can help build children’s confidence and self-esteem as they learn to perform in front of others. In comparison to different activities that children engage in, singing gives kids a sense of competence. Additionally, young children tend to seek validation and have the need to prove that they are capable. When a child feels he/she has succeeded in doing something, especially singing the song perfectly, it boosts his/her self-confidence. Children also believe that singing is a special talent. These are all qualities that boost confidence in children.
Cognitive Development and Academic Performance
Singing requires children to use different areas of their brain, which can help to develop their cognitive skills. When children are singing, they constantly think about the lyrics, the right notes to hit, sing along in the correct tempo, and the various musical sounds that come along with this activity. Thus, when they think of all these things it helps in the mental processes and development of the brain.
Singing further encourages children to be creative and use their imagination, as they can create their own lyrics and melodies. Singing can also help children to develop phonological awareness, which is important for learning to read and write, and all these can further lead to improvement in the overall academic performance.
Physiological and Coordination Improvements
Singing can also help to improve children’s coordination and motor skills, as they learn to move and dance along to music. Movement songs and action rhymes can get kids to use their large muscles, thus building their gross motor skills.
Singing is also an anaerobic exercise. Therefore, it contributes to the improvement of the cardiovascular system. In addition to strengthening respiratory muscles, singing improves breathing. It gives you a physical workout and energises you. All in all, children develop good posture, breath control, and vocal technique.
If you go more in depth, research has shown that singing activity causes hormonal changes, regulating oxytocin, immunoglobulin A and endorphins, which improves the functioning of the immune system and increases feelings of happiness in children. Singing can further help reduce stress and promote relaxation, as it encourages deep breathing and helps to release tension.
When children learn songs they have to listen carefully and focus on every nuance and words. For instance, if you take an action song such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” kids need to listen for the action words, so they can perform them. They also need to listen to the verse or when the chorus is coming so they can sing along on the right count (time).
All of these result in the child developing proficient listening skills, which are important not just for learning music but for coping at school listening to the teacher or even developing good reading skills. As children engage in this activity, they also tend to develop a longer concentration span.
Social Development and Cultural Appreciation
Singing in groups or with others can help children develop social skills such as cooperation, communication, and teamwork. Children who sing and take part in different musical activities develop stronger social skills than their peers who don’t. Children become more appreciative of the contributions made by others to work together towards a common goal.
Our world is a big place and filled with people from all walks of life. Singing can expose children to different cultures and traditions, helping them to appreciate and understand diversity.
Overall, singing is a fun and engaging activity that offers many benefits for young children, and it’s a great way to support their development in a variety of areas.
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Singing a Helpful Tool
Apart from these benefits, singing is the kind of activity that can be used in many helpful ways and in a variety of contexts.
Introducing new concepts or topics becomes much easier by teaching kids songs about it.
For example, teaching counting songs can help children understand the concept of numbers.
There are a lot of songs such as ocean songs, shape songs, emotion songs or animal songs that you can use to share knowledge and concepts to your child.
When children sing songs such as a counting song they are exposed to sequences such as numbers increasing or decreasing. This helps build sequential memory. The song does not have to be counting songs, it can be about a sequence of events as well where they often have to memorise a sequence of actions. Few examples include “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” or “Five little ducks” or “If you’re happy and you know it” amongst others.
Develop Reading and Spelling Skills
Did you know that the basis of learning to read and spell is to understand sound and be able to hear sounds in words. If you look at young babies their ears are trained over time to hear the sounds that are a part of their language. As they get older, they will integrate sound with visual representations of sound (letters and words). Then they will process and decode them to read and spell.
Singing is an excellent pre-reading activity when your child starts developing a perception of sounds as you teach them songs. You should take songs that have rhyming words and repetitive words. They are particularly good for this. Rhyming words can help children to hear and identify patterns which is an important skill to have while reading.
Use It to Calm Children and Make Them Fall Asleep
For parents, the role of singing is immense when used as a medium to calm down active children. You can also sing slow nursery rhymes about sleep or lullabies to help kids drift off at night.
As an added bonus, need to motivate your kids to tidy up? Sing some clean-up songs. Want to wash their hands or brush their teeth properly? Use a hand-washing or brushing song! Today, there are songs for everything. Yes! There are even songs for potty training.
To conclude, singing is about so much more than just having fun. There are many benefits to singing in early childhood. Singing can actually be very useful and favourable for children, especially when it comes to their all round development.