80% of brain growth happens before age 3, so these are critical times in their learning and development. To help maximize this critical time, scientists at Harvard University have developed 5 simple things parents and caregivers can do– these are known as the Basics. One of the Basics is Talk, Sing, and Point.
Children learn language from birth and it happens primarily through the relationship between caregiver and child. By talking and engaging with your child, you are teaching them about the world and life.
We know that babies/children understand the emotion and meaning behind sounds before they understand the concrete meaning behind words, so music is an incredible tool for connecting and bonding with your child and for learning about the world.
Research has shown that it doesn’t matter what you are saying or singing or communicating with your child about. It just matters that you are. Your baby is experiencing the world through your eyes and that’s what matters to them. Your child is soaking in everything that you say and do like a sponge, and they are lapping up any interaction they have with you.
Instead of talking to your child, talking with your child cultivates opportunities to connect. Tune in to what your baby is communicating. If the baby makes a sound, respond. Mirror sounds, facial expressions. Point out and talk about whatever it is you’re doing. Even mundane daily tasks can be opportunities for connection and learning. For example, when picking out clothes, talk with your baby about the process. Which clothes, what you need to do to put them on, colors and textures. Point to them and name them. And you can incorporate singing into anything with special songs or just by making up a song about whatever you’re doing.
The organization Voices Together uses music to promote social engagement and communication skills starting in early childhood and building bridges with communication into learning in school and beyond.
Its programs are in 17 North Carolina counties and offer specialized, evidence-based approaches and provide opportunities for social-emotional development, communication skill-building, and a love for learning in every stage of life.
Music is a natural place for learning and connection to happen and the learning never stops. To learn more, visit voicestogether.org or guilfordbasics.org.