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Singing to Your Children

Fathers have been singing to their babies for thousands of years. It is one of the tried and proven ways to get your child to stop crying. This dad in this much watched 42 second clip (with 3 million views) shows how it is done.

Another great YouTube compilation called Dad & Baby Beatbox with over 2 million views is really worth the watch. And one more, must watch YouTube, with almost 2 million views, is a 30 second clip of a father singing to his young baby daughter.

Some say that the early drawings on the walls of caves were drawn by fathers as part of the ritual of getting children to sleep. Perhaps the fathers sang the stories while drawing them, but whatever the case we do know is that there are great benefits when fathers and mothers sing to their babies, both before they are born and after.

So this year Dads4Kids is excited to announce the release of our Father’s Day adverts for television, for all year round. The ad, which can be seen below, shows a number of fathers singing and engaging with their children, giving the story of life through a father’s song.

Dads4Kids 60 second advert

Dr Kimberly Sena Moore a highly respected musical therapist in an excellent article called, “Does Singing to Your Baby Really Work -The science behind infant-directed singing” said, “You can start by singing to your child in utero. A foetus begins to process auditory signals at about 25 weeks. This is one of the reasons why newborns prefer to hear the voice of their mother–it’s the most familiar voice to them! (Editor’s Note: Dads if you start singing to your baby in the womb your voice could be just as popular!)

 Singing while pregnant has the added benefit of familiarizing your baby with those songs, which you can then use after your child is born. You may even try singing a certain song as you’re calming down for the night and going to sleep. Then, after your baby is born, use that same song to try and calm him or her to sleep.

 Did you know that day-old babies are able to discriminate rhythmic patterns? It’s true! In 2009, researchers from Hungary and the Netherlands reported that, by measuring their brain waves when listening to rhythms, day-old infants are able to detect differences between them. This wasn’t a learned skill. It was innate.

 That’s not the only link between infants and music. There’s emerging evidence that music may play an important role in an infant’s development. Some even hypothesize that singing to your infant is your child’s first language lesson and can prevent language problems later in life

 Even if you feel like you “can’t sing” or you are “tone deaf” – that doesn’t matter! Your baby does not care. Your baby loves your voice and feels connected to your way of singing, regardless of whether you sound like Mariah Carey or like 75% of first-round Australian Idol contestants. Additionally, the good that can happen by you singing to your baby will far outweigh any personal insecurity.

 You can play recorded music to your infant, too, but it won’t have nearly the same effect as singing will. Singing is a super-charged way of connecting to your baby. It has the element of human interaction that little ones crave and need for their cognitive, language, and emotional development.

 Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of familiar children’s songs to get you started:

You Are My Sunshine

The ABCs

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Incy Wincy Spider

Hush, Little Baby

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

The Wheels on the Bus

The human voice is the greatest musical instrument and the beginning of a musical education for our children. Who better than dad to start the process? If you want more inspiration watch this Dad and Daughter sing together You have Got a Friend in Me. Sixteen million people cannot be wrong!

In a ground breaking study published in 2001 by the University of California, conducted by Neill, Trainor and Trehub fathers were recorded singing a song to their infants and a lot of observations were made. Interestingly one of the observations was, “Infants showed greater visual attention when listening to fathers’ singing than to mothers’ singing. This could be explained using the famous quote from the female Member of Parliament, the Hon Danna Vale, who said, “Children get their nurturing from their mother and their identity from their father”.

It could be that the bass tones of the male voice carry more authority or the intrinsic leadership effect that fathers have on their children. Research shows that fathers have a greater affect in directional decision making than mothers, diet just being one example. Whatever the case, the message is clear. Fathers should sing to their children because it is good for both of them.

In a ground breaking study published in 2001 by the University of California, conducted by Neill, Trainor and Trehub fathers were recorded singing a song to their infants and a lot of observations were made. Interestingly one of the observations was, “Infants showed greater visual attention when listening to fathers’ singing than to mothers’ singing. This could be explained using the famous quote from the female Member of Parliament, the Hon Danna Vale, who said, “Children get their nurturing from their mother and their identity from their father”.

It could be that the bass tones of the male voice carry more authority or the intrinsic leadership effect that fathers have on their children. Research shows that fathers have a greater affect in directional decision making than mothers, diet just being one example. Whatever the case, the message is clear. Fathers should sing to their children because it is good for both of them.

Amelia Hill, in a very interesting article in the Guardian, called, “Singing to children may help development of language skillspoints out the massive benefits of singing to their children. “Parents should sing to their children every day to avoid language problems developing in later life, according to a consultant. Too much emphasis in the early years is placed on reading, writing and numeracy, and not enough on the benefits of singing,” according to Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology.

 Singing traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes to babies and infants before they learn to speak, is “an essential precursor to later educational success and emotional wellbeing“, argues Blythe in a book. “Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry the ‘signature’ melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child’s ear, voice and brain for language.”

 Blythe says in her book, The Genius of Natural Childhood, to be published by Hawthorn Press, that traditional songs aid a child’s ability to think in words. She also claims that listening to, and singing along with rhymes and songs uses and develops both sides of the brain. “Neuro-imaging has shown that music involves more than just centralised hotspots in the brain, occupying large swathes on both sides,” she said.

 Growing numbers of children enter nursery and school with inadequate language and communication skills, according to the National Literacy Trust, often because their parents have not helped them develop communication skills. Blythe believes that singing to and, later, with a child is the most effective way to transform their ability to communicate.

 “Children’s response to live music is different from recorded music,” she said. “Babies are particularly responsive when the music comes directly from the parent. Singing along with a parent is for the development of reciprocal communication.”

Beverley Hughes, the former children’s minister who established a national curriculum to set down how babies are taught to speak in childcare from the age of three months, agreed that nursery rhymes can “boost child development”.

 Hughes cites research showing that music and rhyme increase a child’s ability in spatial reasoning, which can enhance a child’s mathematical and scientific abilities.

 “Singing nursery rhymes with young children will get them off to a flying start,” she said.

 Daniel Dwase, editor of the online Child Development Guide, agreed that nursery rhymes set to music can aid a child’s development. But, he added, teaching a child to dance is also important…

“Even better than just singing, though, is to teach songs with actions and encourage your child to dance along to the music, they will learn balance, co-ordination, body awareness and rhythm,” he said.

I can still fondly remember the songs my father used to sing to me as a child from when I was 3 and 4 years old. Every night I also used to sing a bedtime blessing song to my children and now my children are singing the same song to their own children. As the song says, the beat goes on!

Lovework

Show your family and children the new ad and start singing to your children. If you already do so, then start singing more. As the man once said, “Just do it!”

Yours for Singing Fathers

Warwick Marsh

PS. If you would like to help  “Our Children Our Future” Dads4Kids 2017 TV CSA get out there through social media and please make a onetime donation here or better still a monthly donation here. Our 2014 Dads4Kids TV Advert achieved over 30,000 YouTube views with probably one hundred thousand on Facebook. The budget for an agency to complete such an ad from scratch would be well over $100,000 but with social media promotions included our budget is only a third of that. In the past, we have received millions of dollars worth of free advertising through such productions. Help us make a difference and DONATE HERE:

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