How singing helps your child’s development

Posted on 26 December 2019

Endless repetition of nursery rhymes and jingles is not a bad thing. It helps your child broaden their vocabulary – and strengthens their lungs.

According to Sally Goddard Blythe, Co-Director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology (INPP) in England, songs, lullabies and rhymes have the ability to carry over the signature melodies and inflections of your mother tongue.

“This singing prepares your child’s ear, voice and brain for language development,” says Tharina Coetzee, a speech and language therapist at Mediclinic Newcastle. “Singing is a natural way of acquiring new vocabulary as songs use a lot of repetition of words and verses. As your baby or child listens to songs and sings along, they hear and practise vocabulary together with the construction of phrases and sentences.”

There are other benefits as well, such as learning to memorise words. “Auditory memory is a crucial skill that your child will depend on during their academic career,” Coetzee adds. “This entails remembering the things they hear and having the ability to recall it later.” In addition, as Coetzee says, singing will increase your child’s lung capacity. “It will also assist in the improvement of their posture plus strengthen their voice projection.”

Belting out a few tunes also helps strengthen the lips and tongue through exercise, which is then stored through muscle memory. “Muscle memory of a movement is established as your child’s muscles become familiar with a specific movement over time,” Coetzee explains. “Once the neural pathway for the movement has been laid, the muscle has become accustomed to the movement and they are able to do the movement automatically. To help your child learn new sounds and words, practice and repetition is needed. What better way to exercise their mouth muscles than by encouraging them to sing?”

And that’s not all. Self-expression and self-confidence are also learnt through singing.

“When singing in a group, children are able to release their inhibitions and feel free to be themselves,” Coetzee says. “They’ll feel part of a community where they can express themselves without inhibition, which will boost their self-confidence.”

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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