When I was pregnant, one of the things my friend whose daughter was 2 at the time told me was to never keep the house quiet. Even with an infant. She stressed how I shouldn't tip-toe around and worry about every little noise. We live in NYC, so noise is an issue. There are sirens and buses and traffic and people outside (or upstairs or downstairs) making a whole lot of noise. If baby can only sleep in extreme quiet, well, you should think about moving out to the country. Of course, that's not always a possibility so you can get those white noise machines or ... let your baby get used to living and being soothed even when there is noise.
And what better way to do it than to introduce your child to music, even during those quieter times. Turns out, there are brain benefits to it as well.
I've exposed my kids to music since ... well, conception. My children' father is a musician and we both really enjoy listening to many different kinds of music. Every night from when my children were first born, we'd go to bed listening to classical music. And during the day we've listened to just about everything -- even metal. My twins are 4 now and they are both very musical kids -- love have made up songs, love to dance, and strum a guitar every chance they get. My son also loves to play drums though has only done so when we're at people's homes who have drums. (Brave parents.)
I can't help but feel that because we've listened to music so often and were never the tip-toe, hush hush kind of parents, they were able to sleep well even if an ambulance was so loud it felt like it drove through the house and even in wicked thunderstorms. My babies even slept through me vacuuming. I never went around banging pots and pans, and there were moments we had silence in the home, but generally speaking, we weren't afraid of noise.
A recent study looked into children who were exposed to music before the age of 7 and found that it was linked to the brain maturing faster in terms of language and function -- and this benefit was seen even as the child matured through the age of 21. It even helped with self-awareness. Brain maturation peaks at age 7, so exposing kids to music before then is especially helpful.
Ph.D. candidate Yunxin Wang, of Beijing Normal University in China and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, was one of the study's leads and she says that music by composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Schubert, had a great impact on kids when they listened before the age of 7, particularly if they trained to learn the music of these musicians. I don't know about you, but I think I want to sign my kids up for a music class. At the very least, their father can teach them guitar, and we can all continue to have dance and sing parties.
Quiet? With kids? Not a chance.
Do you keep it really quiet in your house or do you generally welcome noise?
Image via Breezy Baldwin/Flickr