When it comes to bonding with or teaching your baby, toddler or preschooler, one of the most powerful tools is a song!

From bedtime lullabies to learning our ABCs, music is a powerful way that young children connect with caregivers and obtain knowledge.

“Studies have shown that music is processed and stored as memories. You’ll notice that many teaching strategies incorporate songs as memory aids,” said Leslie Totten of First Things First.

“Singing adds a different quality to language because it touches different areas of the brain,” Totten added. “Rhythm creates connections between music and language. Rhyme, rhythm and repetition all help cement pathways of learning.”

Music creates a host of opportunities that encourage creativity and promote learning. For example: singing to babies encourages imagination; making up songs with or teaching nursery rhymes to toddlers introduces them to new words and helps them remember concepts like letter sounds and numbers; dancing with toddlers and preschoolers creates an important mind/body connection; and, teaching traditional songs to young children at all stages helps them to connect with their culture.

Click here for tips on how to use music to enhance learning at your child’s stage of development.

Whether it’s listening, singing or dancing, music creates powerful connections between children and families, and helps everyone laugh and learn together!

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Liz Barker Alvarez is Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs at First Things First.