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How music affects the brain

How music affects a child’s brain development

Tuesday 14th September 2021

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Even before your child is born, sound and music play an important role in your child’s brain development. Although there isn’t any evidence to show that playing music to an unborn child will raise their IQ, doing so can gain a response from a baby in the womb, which comes in the form of movement and a raised heart rate. 

Playing music and speaking to your unborn child are great ways for you to bond with them and the same applies once they are born. Music can stimulate a child’s memory and it encourages them to develop many skills such as coordination, movement, listening and socialisation. 

With this in mind, Three Little Birds Children’s Nurseries are here to share some insight into the baby brain development stages.  

Baby brain development stages

At just seven weeks, a baby’s brain develops into three sections: the brainstem and cerebellum, the limbic system, and the cerebral cortex. At the first trimester, a system of nerve endings develop around the spinal cord. By the second trimester, the baby’s brain has the ability to control movement and breathing. And following on to the third trimester, the baby’s right and left hemispheres develop further. 

To better understand the baby brain development stages, here’s a breakdown of the different parts of the brain:

  • Brainstem and cerebellum – this part of the brain is responsible for managing breathing, blood pressure, the heart rate, as well as balance and reflexes. This section of the brain is at the very back of the head at the bottom, connected to the spinal cord.
  • Limbic system – this part of the brain is responsible for the body’s behavioural and emotional needs such as thirst, hunger, memory, learning and fight or flight triggers. This section of the brain is at the top, positioned above the brainstem.

  • Cerebral cortex – this part is made up of two hemispheres and four lobes: occipital lobe (so we can see), temporal lobe (so we can hear, speak and interact), frontal lobe (so we can remember, plan and problem solve), and the parietal lobe (so we can feel pain, temperatures and pressures).

Music for baby brain development is best played at around 27 weeks through to their birth, this is during the third trimester. Of course, you don’t have to play music to an unborn baby but it can help to offer familiarity once they’re born. And at night time, playing the same music that they heard whilst in the womb will be comforting for them, don’t forget to speak or sing the same lullaby too!

Singing helps preschoolers with their communication skills

In the early years, it’s good for parents to sing with and to children. Singing helps to prepare a child for communicating, as it’s not too dissimilar from speaking. Singing strengthens the mouth which helps with the shaping of words when speaking and promotes fluency of oral communication. 

Children love to get involved in singing because it gives them the chance to test out their vocal chords and see how loud or how quiet they can be whilst still being audible. Having this control enables them to adjust their volume to each new situation, which is important as they grow. 

Start off by singing ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’, children love to follow suit and before you know it, they will be singing this back to you.

The effects music has on a child’s brain development

One great example of how music can affect a human brain is at night. Playing soothing music to a tearful child at night can help them to focus, relax, and drift off to sleep. The sacculus found in the inner ear is stimulated by music which helps the brain to release happy hormones, it can also change the mood of a child and allow them to rest easier.

And that’s just one example of implementing music for baby brain development. Listening to music and learning an instrument can also help a child’s brain to learn and improve on:

  • motor skills and coordination
  • vocabulary and speech
  • memory 
  • making friends
  • sensory development 
  • health and fitness
  • sticking to a routine
  • their bond with you

Get in touch with Three Little Birds

Child care and utilising music for baby brain development is something we’re deeply passionate about here at Three Little Birds Children’s Nurseries. We believe that the early years are some of the most important years in our lives which is why we’re dedicated to providing unmatched opportunities at our nurseries. With a wide range of activities for your child to get involved in, they can explore and discover new interests that they might choose to take with them as they grow.

If you’d like to know more about us, you can contact us by filling out our enquiry form, calling (020 3613 2378) or emailing (enquiries@threelittlebirdsnurseries.co.uk), and we’ll be right with you. Otherwise, find your nearest nursery by following this link to our find a nursery page.