Music calms babies down more than talking to them according to a new study ran by the University of Montreal. It seems the good old tradition of singing lullabies to babies to help them sleep is now confirmed as an effective method by science as well.
While many parents try to comfort their child by talking to them in a soothing voice and trying to cheer them up or calm them down this way, it seems research proves that music works much better in calming down a child.
It has already been found that music and speech affect a child’s attention but professor Isabelle Peretz explains that this study wanted to focus on how singing and speaking to a baby affects his emotional self-control. While emotional self-control is obviously not developed in infants, the researchers running the study believe that singing does help develop this capacity.
In order to ensure that the children exposed to the music and the speech were not influenced by and did not react to external factors such as their mother’s voice, the scientists used both music and speech recorded in Turkish so that both the song and the language was not familiar to them and did not distort the findings.
Peretz goes on to explain that, while adults and babies alike are attracted naturally to music, older children and adults alike manifest their enjoyment of this form of entertainment by physical manifestations such as foot-tapping, drumming or nodding their heads. But infants do not display these gestures as they do not synchronize their physical behavior with the music, because they do not possess either the physical or the mental capacity to do so.
The study found that babies did react to the entertainment and got carried away by the music, proving that they do have the mental capacity to enjoy the entertainment.
It seems to also matter what kinds of tones and rhythms the babies were exposed to. In this case, Turkish play songs were performed, as a specific range is needed to entertain the children. The second important factor is the elimination of external stimuli so, although the parents were in the room with the babies, they were sat behind the children as to not distract them from the music.
The experiment began when the children were calm and the parents could take a sit behind them and ensure their facial expressions were not interfering with the results. In the end, the results were that music kept babies calm for around nine minutes while speech, whether baby talk or adult conversations, only managed to keep them calm for up to four minutes.
In other words, the nursery rhymes that parents sing for their kids still seem to be one of the best options available for calming them down.
Image source: www.pixabay.com