More than Just Playing

Play with your baby at Kindermusik by SoundsSteps of DallasBaby videos, play classes, books to read. So little time, so much to learn about Baby. The pressure’s on. What’s a good parent to do?

What to Read?

Keep it simple. My favorite columnist, Carolyn Hax, gives this advice about what to read: “The best thing you can read for raising him is your son himself. Watch and listen and attend to his needs.” If you want some good parenting book suggestions, ask your Kindermusik educator for ideas. Our staff favorite is Bright from the Start.

 Flashcards?

I frequently get questions about the products on infomercials or “educational videos” or “baby play” classes with flashcards and the like. Infant brain development expert Pat Wolfe gives this warning: “Excessive use of flash cards, workbooks, language tapes and ‘educational’ computer games is not only inappropriate, these games deprive children of the natural interaction with their world so important to development.”

In other words, children need to play with you in order to have brain and body development necessary for later learning.

TV?

What about TV? You can read more about the hazards of screen time here, but the bottom line is that the more TV a child watches, the more likely a child will have attention problems later. Much of the concern has to do with over-stimulation and rapid images. So if you must give your child screen time, think Mister Rogers or Sesame Street, something with real-world-paced interaction. You can watch a compelling video here.

What about a music class? For babies?

In case you missed it, we recently highlighted results of fascinating research that specifically looked at interactive classes for one-year olds. One class consisted of interactive parent-child play, toys, and “Baby Einstein” type activities.

The other class also included interactive parent-child play, but with music (lullabies, nursery rhymes, songs with actions, and simple percussion instruments). Sound familiar?

All parent-child play and interaction is good, but throw in the musical activities and you have absolute magic. You know this, but just in case you have doubts, here’s what the researchers found:

“One-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.”

They also displayed “better early communication skills…These babies also were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn’t go their way.”

Plus, there were also the musical benefits: The babies who participated in music with mom and dad showed greater sensitivity to nuances in music.

So if you have to choose just one thing—just one thing to do with your child—how about Kindermusik?

This post brought to you by Miss Lisa!