Singing to Your Baby

baby and dad

A recent study indicates that singing to your baby can positively affect their social development!  You do not have to be a great singer for your baby to benefit from hearing you sing. 

The study showed that it is not your skill as a singer, but rather the predictable rhythm of the song that matters.  In the study, infants synchronized their eye movements with the singer’s eyes around the beat of the music.  If the predictable rhythm was disrupted, the synchronized eye movement ended. This is an extraordinary example of infant social engagement.

The study was done with 2-month and 6-month-old babies.  It is also exciting because it suggests an innate connection that babies have to rhythm and music. 

 There is also some indication that singing is more calming to infants than speech.  Something about the singing engages and calms them.  A 2016 study put 7–10-month-old babies into a mildly stressful situation.  Then they played audiotapes of either someone singing a song or someone speaking the lyrics from a song in a sing-song way.  Babies listening to the music remained calm twice as long as those listening to speech!

The take home:  you do not have to be a singing sensation for your child to benefit from song.  You don’t even have to know the words!  It’s the predictable musical rhythm that makes the difference and creates a strong social learning experience for your baby.