Right from the beginning, music has shown not only to help children with their rhythm and motor skills but it can also help build language. Right from the beginning, your little one is looking for ways to communicate to you. When they learn the building blocks for language, their ability to communicate their needs and wants is not only essential to their development but also to a parent’s sanity. The tantrums lessen when they are able to communicate better. As a parent, it is important to look for opportunities to foster language development. Music helps us do just that.
What makes using music helpful in building language is that it helps stimulate multiple areas of the brain. This is great for language development. An example of this is Melodic Intonation Therapy. This therapy is used to help severe stroke patients speak again. Adding a melody to a spoken phrase helps stimulate the right side of the brain. This is helpful if the left side of their brain is damaged as language is typically a left side brain function. With children who do not have any brain damage, music engages both hemispheres of the brain. Adding movements such as dancing, playing instruments or tapping this helps engage their brain further by stimulating their frontal lobes.
Singing songs to your child, especially ones that they are familiar with, is not only comforting, but they are able to start to distinguish between the similarities and differences between sounds which is an important building block to language learning as well as pre-reading skills. Music has repetition which helps children learn concepts more easily. Singing helps break words down into sounds and symbols which also help your children learn to pronounce words more clearly.
You don’t have to be musically trained to use music to help your child’s language development. You can easily incorporate music by adding a simple melody to words and phrases. By singing, it helps slows down the words while your child learns each syllable. Adding a higher pitch will stress the symbols that show where to put the emphasis when speaking the word. If there is a word that your child has problem pronouncing, add a rhythm or a melody.
A fun activity to do with your little one is to make your own instruments. When you are done, you can use your new instruments to practice your songs and help repeat words in the melody of your favorite songs. Dance or add streamers as this helps with their gross motor development as well as their visual stimulation to the musical play. Incorporate fun musical songs that help them remember routines and concepts.