Sure, your toddler could just as easily sing along with songs on the radio, or nursery rhyme videos online, but by singing with him, you can help him get a big head start on his social development, as well as his language skills, and his appreciation for music as he grows.
Singing together is a great way for parents to encourage toddlers’ growing language skills during these years when they’re old enough that they understand most of what is said to them, but aren’t always strong enough in their own communication to talk back. Singing together is especially good during this time because, for all it teaches, it’s more of a fun activity than a learning experience, and be a great way to work on vocal skills without any pressure. It’s also extremely effective. According to research conducted by Daniel Schön and colleagues, the benefits of singing to kids even outweighs the benefits of plain speech when it comes to language development.
Singing is even used as a speech therapy tool for broken fluency or stuttering – both of which are common during the toddler years. The University of Iowa’s Stuttering Research Lab found out that the smoother voice people use when singing helps to mitigate stuttering. The prolonged words uttered when singing helps, too.
One chemical that is released by the body during singing is oxytocin. Oxytocin is often familiar to new parents as the hormone that causes contractions and lactation, but it’s also responsible for producing an anti-stress effect. It can also reduce blood pressure, foster growth, and aid in natural healing.
Strengthening the parent-child bond
Probably the most important benefit of singing together is the fact that singing does have a positive impact on both your current and future relationship with your child. The bonding that happens through singing will make your child feel that you’re giving him or her your full attention, and this will be one of the strongest frameworks for an enduring relationship.
You don’t have to be a professional musician to make this activity count. It’s not about striving to sing perfectly. It’s about enjoying a bonding moment with Baby. And right now, according to Baby, you’re the best singer around.
Source of happiness
It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that! Singing triggers the brain to release those feel-good hormones called endorphins that make both you and Baby happy. In fact, a study revealed that singing releases more endorphins than just listening to a song!
- R.I. Dunbar, K. Kaskatis, I. MacDonald, V. Barra. “Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: implications for the evolutionary function of music.” Evolutionary Psychology. 10(4): 668-702. October 2012. Retrieved July 5 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23089077.
- Daniele Schon, et. al. “Songs as an aid for language acquisition.” Cognition. 106(2): 975-983. February 2008. Retrieved July 5 2017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027707000868?via%3Dihub.
- “Stuttering Research Lab: FAQs.” Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Iowa. The University of Iowa. Retrieved July 5 2017. https://clas.uiowa.edu/comsci/research/stuttering-research-lab/faqs.