Unfortunately, today’s fast paced and hyper-connected world can make all of those lofty ambitions a real challenge. Whether it’s smartphones, tablets, or just plain old-fashioned television, many of us spend our days bathed in the glow of multiple screens.
Attention spans are plummeting, whilst anxiety levels are at a record high. That’s bad news for us adults, but it’s even more disastrous for the developing minds of our children, many of whom are exposed to screens, apps and television for longer periods than ever before.
So what’s the answer?
We happen to think that introducing your children to music and spoken stories is an excellent way to help your kids prepare for life, whilst promoting a positive home environment that doesn’t rely so heavily upon constant visual stimulus.
Here are 5 important ways that music and audiobooks can benefit the young and developing minds in your own family:
MUSIC AND STORIES CAN HELP BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Greek philosopher Plato was a firm believer in the importance of being exposed to music from an early age:
“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy, but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”
Fast forward to today, and it’s now beenscientifically proven that music can dramatically improve the memory and brain development of young children. Research has also found that the brains of musicians develop and function differently than those of their non-musical peers, with musically-trained students performing better at academic tasks like mathematics, reading, language learning and general problem solving.
Whether your child is tapping along to their favorite tune or listening to a gripping story, their brain is forming a complex set of neutral pathways that are developing their hand-eye coordination and their ability to translate sounds into speech and song.
Beyond all of those benefits though, music simply brings us joy, and that kind of positive reinforcement is vital for a healthy young mind!
MUSIC HELPS WITH SOCIAL SKILLS
As part of the process of growing up, children will face all kinds of challenges as they navigate and adapt to various social environments. One of the best ways to overcome these kinds of challenges is to encourage them to participate in music from an early age.
Listening to (or performing) music is a naturally sociable activity.Studies have shown that even the simple act of harmonizing and keeping the beat with another person or audio track can help us to develop positive feelings towards that person or situation.
Shared musical interests, even at the most basic level (such as singing the national anthem before a sports game) can improve group cohesion and empathy. That’s probably one of the reasons that folk stories and nursery rhymes also used to play such a crucial role in our societies.
MUSIC IS INSPIRING AND HELPS TO BOOST CREATIVITY
Have you ever noticed that when you listen to music, your mind starts to wander? That’s not always so great if you’re doing something that requires deep concentration, but it’s fantastic when you’re trying to get into a creative flow.
Back in 2017,a study was published that linked listening to upbeat classical music to a boost in creativity — described in the study as “tasks that involve divergent thinking”. Divergent thinking is all about recognizing obscure links between concepts, working with information in an unorthodox manner, or more simply: “thinking outside of the box”.
As you can imagine, this kind of whimsical and creative thinking is vital for developing minds, helping them to foster unique and original ideas, emotional flexibility and perhaps even a more entrepreneurial spirit.
MUSIC AND STORIES TEACH CHILDREN TO BE MORE PATIENT AND SELF DISCIPLINED
Have you ever watched an orchestra performing and marveled at the patience and self control on display? Every member of the group waits, listens and watches for cues from the conductor and the other musicians.
Listening to music, as well as singing and dancing with friends, helps children to develop a sense of patience and self discipline, as well as the value of working together in a team and allowing others to take their turn. Even the simple act of listening to an audiobook or story can have a profound effect on a child’s patience and tolerance levels, something that’s particularly tricky to teach in an age of smartphones, apps and video games.
MUSIC HELPS CHILDREN TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND GAIN CONFIDENCE
Even as adults, we don’t necessarily need to find the right words to accurately describe how our favorite songs make us feel. We intuitively just “know”. Living in an environment where music plays a leading role can help children to grow emotionally, gaining the confidence to display their emotions and express how they’re feeling more accurately.
Children, especially infants, can find it difficult to express themselves and explain how they are feeling. Temper tantrums and crying are two obvious examples of how toddlers attempt to express themselves emotionally, without yet being equipped with the full range of tools to accurately describe their emotions.
Once younger infants have developed into children, they can more accurately convey emotions like sadness, frustration and nervousness. In the meantime though, music can provide a fantastic outlet for children to explore and develop a healthy range of feelings.
As you can probably tell, here at Babbit we’re great believers in the power of music and stories. That’s why our team of creators and music maestros have worked so hard to bring our speaker and music ecosystem to life.
Music and stories can spark curiosity, engaging, stimulating and educating our children without having to rely on screens or television. Besides that, music, song and dance can bring the whole family together, something we desperately need in our hectic, modern world!