Music and the Brain

Music and the Brain

16 February 2023 • Words by Nanette Botha 3 mins

Have you ever noticed how grocery stores play fast, upbeat music, especially nearer to closing time? They do that to prompt people to move faster and grab the items they need before the store closes. On the other hand, more upscale stores tend to play relaxing background music to encourage people to unwind and be at ease so they will spend more time at the store and therefore more money.

There is no doubt that music has an effect on our children and on us. It affects the way we react, the way we think, and even the way we breathe. It might be interesting to test this out for yourself! While your child is playing or doing their chores for the day, first try putting on music with a fast tempo. Then, try the same activities on a different day with gentle, calming background music. What differences do you notice in your child’s behavior and movements?

It is important for our children to learn the skill of being able to settle down and regain control of their bodies and minds. The ability to be mindful and in control of themselves is a crucial part of a child’s social and emotional development, and music can support them in learning these skills.

Music and Mindfulness for Kids

When you start out using music as part of mindfulness activities with your child, it might seem like a strange new skill for your child to learn, so don’t be worried if it takes some time to become familiar with the expectations of mindfulness games. A very simple but effective meditation activity could simply be to have your child lie down with their eyes closed and listen to soft, calming music.

As they listen to the music, encourage your child to imagine they are walking somewhere pleasant, for example, on a beach. You could guide their thoughts slightly by prompting them to think about the feeling of the wind in their hair and the sand in between their toes as they walk slowly next to the water. Perhaps they could imagine a small wave coming closer and gently covering their feet with cool water. They could imagine digging with their toes in the sand and then feeling the cool water wash it off again. As relaxing as it sounds while reading it and thinking about the lovely scenario of walking on the beach, it may require some practice for you to confidently paint this picture for your child.

How Moshi Music Can Help Kids

Moshi provides a wide variety of types of music, and you can be certain that there will be something your child will enjoy, suited to their mood or the time of day. There are options for music at nighttime that are designed to help children settle down for bed, such as Nodkins’ Nocturne, and options for during the day, like Calming Mood Music when they want time to relax after school or need to reset their mood after an argument with a sibling. There are even songs that include nature sounds or gentle animal sounds, like Restful Moshi Rainfall, which add the perfect touch when you guide your children in imagining they are walking next to a gentle stream with the soft breeze blowing on their faces.

Making use of music throughout the day can be a foreign concept for children if they have not been exposed to different types of music before.

Our children are often used to music and songs in movies or television shows they watch, and those types of music are usually fast-paced and may even sometimes be anxiety-provoking. It is to be expected that your child might find gentle, soothing music strange at first. As it is something new, they might even say that they don’t like it. Don’t give up, though! Start slowly, and remember to keep the music in the background so it is not overwhelming. You know your child best—if it is going to be too much to expect them to lie down and “only” listen to music, you can start by having the music in the background while they play their favorite downtime games. It will help them to have a positive experience even though the music is new for them.

Children learn so well by example! If they observe a parent or family member enjoying music, they will be more likely to try it out themselves. One of my own children’s favorite times is when I lie down with them before bedtime and we listen to Moshi music together. Listening to music quietly with their eyes closed is an ideal way for kids to unwind. Not only does the soothing music help their bodies to relax, but it also quiets their minds and sets the scene for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Nanette Botha

Educational specialist & mother of 3 young children Co-founder: AIMS Global & Leadership at: Augmental