Do you sing to your baby? If you do, it’s likely that you are among a smaller and smaller number of parents who sing lullabies to their little ones. There have been several studies over the past few years in both Europe and the U.S. that show that the younger a parent is, the less likely they are to sing to their child.
One study of 2,000 households revealed that only 38 % of parents sing to their kids who are 5 years old and younger and mothers are twice as likely to sing to kids over fathers. (source: The Bump Magazine)
While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the decline in singing has occurred, there is a consensus between hospitals and parenting groups in regards to the benefits of singing to babies and young children. Not only do studies site emotional well-being and better sleep patterns as benefits but one study even found that infants born with respiratory distress did physically better when listening to their parents sing a lullaby.
1. PICK A SONG YOU LIKE
Want to incorporate singing into your baby’s routine? You don’t have to be Beyonce or Josh Groban to get started. Pick a song that you know. Can it be a classic like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Rock-a-Bye Baby?” - sure but don’t feel like you have to use the standard “lullaby” from generations before. You are more likely to sing, and sing often, if you enjoy the song and know it well. Think Frank Sinatra, Bruno Mars or Carrie Underwood.
2. DON'T TRY TO SING A WHOLE SONG
There are no rules and you’re baby will pass no judgement if you only sing the chorus of a song on repeat or make up words for sections you forget. The point is to sing! Your baby will like to hear the same tune over and over anyway because it establishes a predictable rhythm which lowers stress levels. It doesn’t matter if you can hit the high notes either.
3. TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS
Most of us have a small amount of stage fright so to make it easier, sing in a darkened room with just you and baby - this is why nap & bed time is perfect! Feel free to use your body to establish a rhythm (a slight rock from side to side or front to back) and start with a light humming.
We all want to give our children the best “ingredients” for success in life - consider adding singing to your ongoing parenting “recipe.”