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The benefits of singing to your baby

Outlines the health benefits of singing to a baby - for both the parent and the child. Gives some simple song ideas to sing, even if you feel you are tone deaf!

"Everyone says it, that singing to my baby is a good thing to do, but I sound so bad!"

"I heard that music helps my child.... Is this True?"

"What sort of music should I sing to my baby?"

Increasingly it is thought that singing to a child, right from birth and even during pregnancy has significant benefits, both for your baby and for yourself.

According to research by scientists in Germany, at the University of Frankfurt singing strengthens the immune system in Adults.

The scientists tested the blood of people who sang in a professional choir in the city, before and after a 60 minute rehearsal of Mozart's Requiem. They found that concentrations of immunoglobin A - proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies - and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal.

A week later, when they asked members of the choir to listen to a recording of the Requiem without singing, they found the composition of their blood did not change significantly.

The researchers, who included Hans Guenther Bastian from the Institute of Musical Education at Frankfurt University, concluded singing not only strengthened the immune system but also notably improved the performer's mood.

A new mother could certainly benefit from an improved immune system, especially with the lack of sleep and everything else that goes along with being a parent of a young baby!

The benefits for the child are more basic. There is nothing more settling for a baby than a mother or a fathers calm voice, and singing has a natural soothing effect for babies and children.

There is a wide amount of research suggesting that music has a lot of other benefits in the brain, as, one of the most well known parenting websites says:

"Children who hear music and sing songs, and move to the beat are experiencing what the experts call "a rich sensory environment." That's just a way of expressing that a child is exposed to a wide variety of smells, tastes, colours and sounds. And kids who enjoy such a rich environment do more than have fun. Researchers believe they forge more pathways between the cells in their brains."

The Music also does not have to be complex, and you do not have to be a good singer! Your child will love you singing to them, even if you feel you are completely tone deaf.

So start singing, you don't have to do anything complex! You can sing any old nursery rhymes or songs, and you can even make up your own songs, to match what you are doing at the time.

For example, you can sing while you are getting them dressed:

I'm going to put...

One arm in, One arm in. The other arm in, the other arm in Now my head goes through the hole, Now my head goes through the hole Over my tummy, yes over the tummy And button Me up! Button Me Up!

It doesn't matter what tune you sing it to - anything will work! You will notice that I repeated nearly every line. This just makes it fall more naturally into rhythm. You can of course repeat every line as many times as you like. Just have fun, and your baby will have fun too!

Article Tags: Immune System

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Kevin Tuck is CEO of the Fun Music Company, and together with his wife Janice they are passionate about making music more accessible and enjoyable for parents. While growing up in parenting with their own daughter they have put together a website to help parents understand music a little easier called the Parents Music Guide

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