We're all familiar with lullabies and nursery rhymes, but did you know that music can benefit everything from your baby's intelligence levels to his or her ability to sooth themselves to sleep? We look at six great reasons to enjoy music with your little one.
1. Good vibrations
Babies have been shown to respond to sounds in the womb from as early as 23 weeks' gestation and, once born, often find the familiar songs soothing as a result. As well as playing music during your pregnancy, singing whilst pregnant can pass calming vibrations between mother and child.
2. Glorious Food
Creating associations between music and food can be very helpful, especially when it comes to weaning. Try replacing words in familiar rhymes with those related to food. Singing these when your baby is feeding can help to motivate him or her to eat a little more.
3. On my mind
Playing music to - and with - your baby has been shown to stimulate brainwaves and help with thinking skills. Encouraging your baby to press buttons on a keyboard or tap out notes on a toy xylophone can also help her to develop fine motor skills.
Studies have shown that music played in a nursery environment can help children interact more positively with one another. Try popping on an upbeat track whilst your child is playing to set a feel-good mood.
5. Doctor, doctor
Picking up every cold this season? Amazingly, studies have noted that upbeat music can encourage your child to release antibodies more effectively. Whilst it may not be a miracle cure for circulating bugs, it's worth trying an upbeat tune during cold and flu season!
6. I'm only sleeping
Slow tempo music can help to soothe your child. Try playing a calming CD, or singing lullabies in the half hour or so before bedtime. Whilst some also use music in baby's room whilst he goes to sleep, it is not always recommended, as this can create a sense of 'needing' music in order to sleep.
A little bit more…
With benefits ranging from increased IQ, better language acquisition, improved concentration and a more positive outlook, it's clear that the rewards of listening to music can be far-reaching.
What's more, most children enjoy singing, dancing or simply listening to favourite tracks - making music a win-win activity.
Gillian Harvey is a freelance writer, qualified teacher and mother-of-five young children, currently living in France. Follow her on twitter: @GillPlusFive