Lullabies have always provided a few moments of precious bonding between mums and bubs but new research shows the soothing songs could now also be hitting a high note with word recognition.
The early results of a new study “could potentially” indicate that infants who hear music with words in it recognise the words more effectively than if they heard them in a spoken sentence.
Pilot research from the MARCS Institute BabyLab at Western Sydney University has found that babies aged six to eight months old exhibited a greater response to singing than regular spoken words.
Research fellow Emily Tan said: “Music is really important, it’s a way to convey vocabulary to infants.
“I notice a lot of mums singing random things that aren’t necessarily lullabies, but they notice how it captures the babies attention and is a great way to give a child exposure to new words.”
Ms Tan said that introducing new words in any form were a great way to set children up to succeed as they grow.
“Any word exposure is good for kids, and is linked to better literacy rates when they start reading and writing, it brings success in school,” Ms Tan said.
“The same is true with music, with new words in songs, (babies) notice what’s going on around them and word exposure is important in the same way.”
Louise Whittell and her eight-month-old daughter Lily have taken part in the BabyLab study.
Baby Lily is a big fan of her mum’s lullabies.
“She really likes music, far more than my firstborn daughter did,” Ms Whittell told The Daily Telegraph.
“I sing to her all the time whether it’s nonsense stuff or not, it really gets her attention and calms her down.”
Ms Tan said that more ¬research was needed to confirm the link.
But she said parents didn’t need an opera-worthy singing voice to make an impact on their infants.
“It’s never too early to start (singing to your baby), and it’s a great habit to get into,” she said.
“(Recorded music) doesn’t give the same benefits to your child. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bad singer, they want to hear your voice.”