Everybody loves to sing (although not always in tune!), especially children. Singing evokes emotion, creating a fun and positive atmosphere. An added bonus is that it’s a wonderful means of learning for children, strengthening the connection between hearing and speech skills.
Music stimulates many areas of our brain at the same time, enhancing our memory and retention of new vocabulary and grammar.
Hear and Say Clinical Manager, Listening and Spoken Language, Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy explained how a child’s ability to imitate the rhythm in songs facilitates development of the natural rhythm for speech. “As songs typically have a small number of words, they provide a great way to learn how to speak and to extend auditory memory,” said Jessica.
“By regularly repeating songs, children are able to practise new speech patterns over and over. It also helps in converting information from short-term memory to long-term memory.”
Jessica said she was often asked by parents when the best time was to start singing to their child.
“We suggest families start to sing to their children from birth, or even before. The easiest way is to integrate songs into your daily routines and playtime,” said Jessica.
“For younger children or beginning listeners, use songs to build an association between an object and a song by singing the same song every time you play with the object.
“You can use songs to establish, initiate and reinforce routines, for example sing, ‘Round and Round the Garden…’ to initiate a tickling game.”
At Hear and Say, singing is always incorporated into our regular group social skills programs for younger children – Listen Little Stars, Little LEAP and LEAP.
Find out more about our group social skills programs for all ages, here.