Dancing with your baby is a lovely activity to do right from the earliest weeks after birth. Its a good transition activity for the fourth trimester, since dancing is a repeat of the rocking and swaying motion your baby experienced for nine months inside mum.
Holding your baby close while dancing can be soothing to you both, but that’s not all. It is also an activity that will grow with your child and help them develop both physically and emotionally.
How Dancing With Your Baby Helps Them Learn
Dancing with your baby stimulates many of their senses including sight, hearing, touch, and both their vestibular and proprioception systems (movement and body awareness). It helps to develop their sense of balance, spacial understanding and self-awareness. It can also help develop their inner ear, eye muscles and eye tracking.
Pat your baby to the beat of the song and/or walk around keeping the beat. This will help your baby to develop a good sense of rhythm.
Dance around the room together as you listen, and give your baby the chance to experience what various movements feel like. It’s a fun way to introduce your young baby to new movements and your bigger baby will love to use his arms and legs to get involved, thus helping with gross motor development and coordination.
Play a Variety of Music
Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to play children’s music. You can dance to whatever music you prefer! Just remember to mix it up – sometimes slow and quiet, other times loud rock or jazz! Choose to dance with music that suits your baby’s mood, or the mood you’re looking to inspire.
Interesting studies have been conducted (ha! see what I did there!) on classical music’s effect on the brain. This research has shown that classical music stimulates the spatial pathways in your brain and makes these pathways ready to operate. This will help your child with spacial reasoning (the ability to complete certain tasks such as puzzles). So every so often, waltz with your little one!
Babies especially love to dance to any music that you played to them while they were in your womb. When T was little, I listened to Haim’s debut album on repeat, and though I’m tired of it now she celebrates when it comes on the iPod… coincidence? I think not!
Fortunately, repetition is important so don’t worry if you play or sing the same piece over and over again. Babies learn through this repetition and your baby will feel comforted and secure when he recognises the music or song.
Savour the Little Moments
Dancing with your baby can benefit you, too. This time together has the power to lift your spirits, soothe your frayed nerves and make the oxytocin in your body flow.
It won’t be long before your baby will be too big for you to pick up and twirl around so do it while your back can stand it!
Dancing with your baby is fantastic for so many areas of his brain and body development. And it provides some lovely parent/baby bonding opportunities. So turn up the stereo, pick up your little love, and fill up your dance card.
This week at SensoBaby we read one of our favourite books, Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, and did a number of dancing with our little ones. You’ll find many dances, activities and additional ways to bond with your child in a SensoBaby class.
Have fun and keep on moving, don’t stop no…
Image Credit: Caroline Gartland via a SensoBaba class