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Do they have to listen to kids’ music?

Do they have to listen to kids’ music?

Whether you’re crooning your way through the tender and touching tale of Mary and her little lamb, or keeping the family’s energy up with a few rousing rounds of Old MacDonald, there are many times, and many places, for music that’s specially designed to be shared with kids. On the other hand, as Baby’s parent or caregiver, it’s probably been a few years since you’ve been the target audience for these children’s songs, and it’s possible that, every now and then, you might find yourself wanting to put something a little bit more…enjoyable on – and that’s okay.

Benefits of children’s songs

There are any number of ways that kids’ songs and nursery rhymes are great, starting with the way that playing them is a friendly, easy way to get children interested in music. Children’s songs tend to have a lot of repetition and obvious rhymes, which are great for catching toddlers’ attention, and a lot of them are silly, or about animals, or a little bit of a game – or all three! – which are great for catching young children’s attention. There are plenty benefits of kids’ songs – they’re often about subjects kids are interested in, which can help them get involved, and may have tie-ins to picture books, which can also promote a love of reading.

Introducing children to other music

So no one is saying that children’s songs aren’t great – they’re engaging and fun, and children also can’t pick up any, shall we say, colorful language in kid-friendly songs, which isn’t always true of popular music marketed towards adults. On the other hand, it’s easy to start to get a little sick of some of these songs – especially the ones that all seem to have the same tune. Ba Ba Black Sheep Little Star: The Alphabet Song can start to get on even the most patient parent’s nerves before too long. Luckily, toddlers can benefit from listening to the music their parents and caregivers enjoy just as much as they can benefit from music that’s designed specifically for them.

While kids’ songs can sometimes teach specific skills, like the alphabet, counting, or rhyming, more complex songs promote learning in a more basic way. Toddlers benefit from variety in music – from music that’s marketed specifically towards them to music parents played for them before they were even born, to whatever catches their attention on the radio. Varied music helps activate learning and memory, and while kids’ songs can be pretty one-note, when you open up the wide world of music for grown-ups to Baby, they are suddenly exposed to a whole host of different keys, tempos, and styles.

Another fun factor of introducing toddlers to “real” music is that you, as their parent or caregiver, get to choose what to introduce them to. This gives you the chance to build a shared music taste with Baby, which can be a great way to connect as they grow, and is bound to make compromises on family road-trips a little bit easier to come by.

  • Mitzi Baker. “Music makes our brains pay attention, Stanford study finds.” Stanford. Stanford University, August 1 2007. Retrieved July 18 2017.
  • Chris Boyd Brewer. “Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom.” Johns Hopkins School of Education. Johns Hopkins University, 1995. Retrieved July 18 2017.
  • Laura Lewis Brown. “What Music Should My Child Listen To?” PBS Parents. PBS. Retrieved July 18 2017. 
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