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In our technology-ridden world, it’s harder for families to go through life without some sort of electronic device involved. Many families are beginning to seek out bonding time away from all of the technology, and create fun and involved memories to establish a stronger relationship with one another. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of music. Music has numerous benefits when utilized during family time. It can strengthen relationships, create better social skills and elevate moods.
Introducing music establishes the bond.
Introducing your child to music that you love breaks down the wall of authority, and allows for a bond to form that ignores any social hierarchy. Oftentimes, a taste in music is one of the first things in a child’s life that they can truly have in common with their parent. Most adults like to show their child a piece of music that has meaning for them, as a way of opening up. Kids often see their parents as “larger than life,” but when a parent explains an emotional connection they have to a song, it humanizes them, usually for the first time. A great example of this is shown in a recent Amazon Echo TV commercial, where a little girl’s father shows her his favorite song and it plays throughout the years of her life, comforting her during big, emotional moments. Sharing music creates common ground, and builds a sense of legacy that parents can leave with their children.
Music bonds your children to an artform.
Referencing that same Amazon commercial, it’s interesting to note what happens after the father introduces the song; the daughter then takes up guitar lessons and learns to play it. The universal bond created by listening to songs together can provide support as your child begins to explore the art of music. If you sing and play along to records with your child from a young age, they will associate feelings of comfort, love, and bonding with music in general. Seek out a musical outlet, like vocal lessons for kids, or instrumental lessons that you can even take along with your child, to allow them to explore this new area of interest. As they learn to master a craft and eventually perform their music, they’ll overcome fears and learn new skills, all while recalling where their love of music stemmed from—your bond at home.
Music enhances social skills and moods.
Through music and the areas of the brain it stimulates, we actually learn empathy. There is a scientific term for it—called “theory of mind”—which helps us develop the receptors to identify what others might be thinking, in order to react appropriately.
Do you remember a specific lullaby or nursery rhyme that was sung to you by your mother or father? And maybe you sing it to your own children now?
Through communication and emotional associations with music when it is shared or passed down, children develop a sense of belonging, which increases their loyalty and feelings of safety within their family. In the same fashion, when growing up, kids tend to link to others who favor the same types of music styles and genres, as though their music tastes hold certain values or affiliations. This demonstrates how music has a deeper meaning to people than just entertainment; that it strengthens how we establish relationships with others. It almost acts as the glue that binds people together. So, what better way to create a bond and strengthen associations within your family?
Music has also been shown to boost oxytocin levels within the brain, which heightens our sense of trust and favorability toward others. Additionally, it has the ability to relax and sooth. Just like a mother will use song to soothe her baby, families can use music to soothe one another, offering an oxytocin boost and a sense of safety.
Music allows expression and exercise.
When bonding with family, using music, parents can also show their children how to express themselves. Consider (especially with younger kids) having a dance party, where your children can freely move about to the music. Throwing cares away, without distraction or judgment, you can just enjoy the moment, have fun together, and create memories to cherish. Expressing themselves this way can also help children relieve the tension and stress of the day without any worries—a service that most parents seek to provide for their families.
Being able to dance and sing together burns calories and releases endorphins—and parents can also enjoy the added bonus of letting their children release energy (especially if before bedtime) as their children move to the music. A small dance party or jam session can lift the mood of an entire household!
Music teaches children how to talk and read.
Music lyrics are beneficial if you have young children who are just learning how to talk or read. Lyrics will teach kids different words, and being able to identify them, and the story behind a song gives them a great bonus ‘lesson’ in comprehension. Since most songs have rhymes or lyrical patterns, they are fun for children to learn how to say or read. Learning the words of a song together also boosts creativity. Encourage your children to come up with their own words to a song. If they find that they are clever with rhymes too, it becomes a fun game for the whole family to enjoy together.
Music is the perfect bonding tool.
These are a few of the many ways that music impacts a child’s life and the benefits that come from it. Have your children put down their phones, tablets, and computers. Turn off the TV, and get out a guitar or piano. Take some time tonight to start enhancing your children’s musical tastes, as you help with their development and elevate the mood of your entire household!