The Benefits of Dancing with Your Baby

by "Naomie's life" used by Creative Commons license on flickr

Wow!  We had a doozy of a dance in class this week  in our current Village class with the song Dans les sortiers jurassiens. While at first it may seem a little overwhelming, the steps really do get easier, and the benefits really make it worth it in the end.  Dances like this show up over and over and over again in Kindermusik classes, with good reason.  In fact, every class has at least two dances, often including a circle dance in some form.  Here are just a few of the benefits of dance for your child:

  • Dances help with Baby’s Social Development. Social dances are a fun, stress free way for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to experience social interaction.  You don’t have too worry in a dance about if your child will take turns or share.  Instead, social dance gives Baby the opportunity to build upon his social skills by being in an environment with an adult who is greeting and socializing with other adults and children.  Babies can acquire skills from this such as making eye contact and using appropriate greetings.  Just think about our “Peekaboo, This-a-Way!” song and how much the babies not only enjoy smiling and waving at their peers but watching you as you and other parents introduce yourselves.
  • Circle Dances provide Fun Stimulation for Baby. Multi-sensory stimulation is key to learning for any age, but especially young children who are so engaged by various sensory stimuli.  Circle dances can be a great venue for multi-sensory stimluation as they provide music and movement stimulation as well as the visual delight of seeing other faces and moving toward and away from partners or a circle, a favorite part of any dance for Baby!  For some dances we’ll also pull out props such as scarves or the parachute to add to the visual element.
  • Dances can teach Baby about Musical Form. Especially with synchronized dances like Dans les sortiers jurassiens the dance steps offer match the musical form.  So, if there’s a piece of music with three sections, A – B – C, then our dance will have three sections which follow the musical pattern.  While we don’t expect babies to be able to label these patterns, their brains are beginning to identify them.  In fact, the brain is a pattern-seeking machine from birth.  Plus, later on when they get older, and they are ready to label musical patterns (or grammatical patterns or patterns in poetry) it will be a piece of cake because of all their early exposure.
  • Dances can help Baby’s Language Development. One important way dances teach Baby not to be overlooked is in the area of language development.  As we move around the room in class, whether in a circle dance or in a form of free dance, label label label for your baby the kinds of movement or even the steps.  “March, march, march.”  “Tip-toe, tip-toe.”  “And STOP.”   The more you label, the more language she picks up.  With dances this can often help highlight opposites like high and low, fast and slow, in and out, or up and down, which will help her pick up these contrasting concepts much more quickly.

There is so much dancing teaches your little one.  In fact, this is really just the tip of the iceberg, but it should be plenty to get you started dancing around the house this week.  Pick a few favorite songs from a Kindermusik CD or just turn on the radio and have a great time!

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