Music heals hurt minds
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Throughout human history people have understood the power of music to soothe and calm children. Rhythm helps people regulate their feelings.
Different areas of the brain are affected by trauma and neglect depending on the age of the child. If a child has been mistreated as a baby then it is especially important to stimulate the pathways in the brain which can promote healthy development by music, singing and verse.
The brain is sensitive to these because they offer children a way to express their feelings, perceptions, thoughts, and memories in ways that words cannot.
Because most children enjoy nursery rhymes, singing, and dancing, these are a simple way for children to learn to express their feelings in different ways. If they sing along with you, they feel closer to you. Singing together is a bonding experience.
Try these songs for young children
Baby Karaoke is a free smartphone app with lots of songs and nursery rhymes to sing with your child in the car, on holidays, waiting at the dentist, or under the blanket on a rainy day.
If you are not a person who likes singing, then nursery rhymes and other poems work just as well. There are lots of great poems for reading to children at Famous Children Poems.
Children love the fun of poems like 'The Cat' which is an old nursery rhyme
A cat came fiddling out of the barn,
With a pair of bagpipes under her arm;
She could sing nothing but fiddle-dee-dee
The mouse has married the bumble bee
Pipe, cat! Dance, mouse!
We'll have a wedding at our good house.
There are some great video clips of children’s poems on YouTube including 'The worm that wouldn't wiggle’.
Songs and poems alter a child’s physiology
When children listen to, or join in singing or reciting poetry their breathing slows, their blood pressure lowers, and the body becomes more relaxed.
This helps reduce the fight-or-flight response, associated with stress. Rhythm modifies our biochemistry and improves our physical wellbeing.
When children participate in any rhythmic activity, it actually changes their bodies and makes emotional outbursts much less likely.
Children are even better than adults at remembering the words of songs and poetry which is a bonus.
Sometimes children in care have low self-esteem and think they’re stupid. But they feel wonderful if they can learn a song and sing it to you without prompts. It helps their language development while also helping their mood.
Once you learn a song or poem you don’t usually forget it and it’s always there to soothe you.