Children learn very early to love rhythm by listening to their mother’s heartbeat. At birth, babies already welcome listening to human voices, and will usually turn toward their mother’s voice, preferring it to all others. Newborns perceive every sound in the world’s languages, but will learn to speak only the languages they hear daily.
Singing together helps your child hear the smaller sounds that make up words, and internalize rhythms and beat. It doesn’t matter if you can’t carry a tune; your child will love to sing with you if you are happy and engaged.
Listening to nature or animal sounds and having your child imitate these sounds vocally are excellent ways to build subtle listening abilities and encourage vocal development.
If you can, try working music into everyday activities — picking up toys, setting the table or taking a bath. Make up songs that include their name. “This is the way Sam puts on his coat, puts on his coat, puts on his coat...” Every time you read, talk, sing or rhyme with a child you are providing the early language experiences that lead to reading.
Ask your child, “How does this music make you want to move?” When children move to music, they begin to feel the beat. Sing your favorite songs or make up silly songs for fun. When families share stories, songs and books with their children, they give them the message that learning to read and write is important.