Sing! To Build Your Child’s Brain

Sing! To Build Your Child’s Brain

If you ask most adults what song they remember best out of all the songs they have ever heard, they will pick one that they sang when they were children, like the “Eensy Weensy Spider” or “Ring Around the Rosie”.  That’s because singing and songs form a big part of many people’s childhoods. And for good reason. Both children and adults can get lots of benefits from singing! Here are a few:

  • Songs help children learn language and vocabulary. Children hear all sorts of new words in songs. Singing can also help them begin to be able to discriminate words from other sounds. Another great thing about songs is that they rhyme. Rhyming is important to building children’s phonological awareness (recognizing the sound structure of words) and phonological awareness is an essential building block for reading.
  • Singing can help build memory skills. Children will often hear and sing the same song over and over. While hearing “The Wheels on the Bus” forty times in a row might make some parents want to buy ear plugs, that repetition is helping children to build their auditory memory. And that is also an essential skill for learning.
  • Singing allows children (and adults) to be creative. Children can experiment with songs. They can make up different words to go along with a tune and try different rhymes. So children can increase their feelings of happiness and their literacy skills at the same time!
  • Singing helps increase blood flow. When people are singing, they pull in a lot of oxygen. This means that there is more oxygen going to your brain, so you can be more alert. It’s also good exercise for your lungs and diaphragm.
  • Singing makes children and adults feel happier! When people sing, their brains release chemicals called endorphins that make them feel happier. Singing can lower stress levels and reduce muscle tension.

As you can see, singing has a lot of benefits for both children and adults. And you don’t have to be good at singing to get all of these benefits. Researchers have shown that just singing–on-key, off-key or in between–has positive effects! So dust off some of those tunes from your childhood and invite your children to sing along.  It will be good for all of you!

Sources

4 Ways Singing Promotes Language Development- http://thespeechies.com/singing-and-language-development/

11 Surprising Health Benefits of Singing- http://takelessons.com/blog/health-benefits-of-singing

Singing Changes Your Brain- http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/

Image: © Ian Allenden| Dreamstime.com

Katherine Pears
Dr. Katherine Pears is a senior scientist at Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). She earned her Ph.D in clinical psychology and has worked with OSLC since 1998. Katherine is the principal investigator and co-developer of the Kids In Transition to Schools (KITS) program. Currently, she oversees all the clinical and research activities for KITS. When she’s not in her office, you’ll find Katherine in the kitchen whipping up her latest creation or outdoors hiking a scenic trail.

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