It’s fun to sing-song throughout the day while caring for your little love, but did you know it’s also educational? See how singing supports speech and language development and learn how your baby or toddler can benefit.
How Singing Supports Speech & Language Development
From lullabies to turning everyday words and sentences into catchy tunes, opportunities to sing are endless when you have a little love in the household. But singing is about more than keeping your baby or toddler—or you, for that matter—entertained and engaged. It’s been demonstrated that as babies and toddlers learn rhythm and melody via singing, resulting in a boost to their awareness of words’ sounds and vocabulary size
Here are some of the ways in which we know that singing supports speech and language development in babies and toddlers:
- Differentiating sounds, also known as auditory discrimination.
- Understanding sound structure.
- Auditory memory, or the ability to hear, process, retain, and repeat information.
- Vocabulary development.
Tips for Using Singing for Speech Development
There really isn’t a wrong way to incorporate speech into your day-to-day activities with your child, but here are some tips for making tried and true connections from singing songs to stronger speech and language skills:
- Slow down. There’s no rush, so sing slowly with your little love so they can catch up, catch on, sing along, and effectively process what they’re singing as they’re singing it.
- Face each other. Not only will your child see how your mouth, tongue, and lips form the sounds that you’re singing and give them something to mimic, but eye contact is also great for connecting!
- Create blanks for them to fill in. If you’re both familiar with the words of a song, start pausing during your singing or leaving words out so your little love can jump in and flex their memory skills.
- Use gestures. Your child will likely mimic your gestures, connecting words to contextual movements as well as giving their motor skills a workout.
- Use visual aids. Just as the illustrations in picture books represent and help contextualize words as they’re read out loud, using visual aids can help your child connect words and concepts more effectively.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. The more often you repeat the song, the better your child will remember it and the more opportunities they’ll have for practicing and understanding the words in context.