Everywhere you read about pre-birth and post-birth development of a child, it says to inundate your little one with music. Music towards the belly, music in the crib, music during the day, and so on. We have loosely followed this advice – and as I learned last week, clearly there are some kind of mental connections that are made to music that is introduced early on.
Since going on Pappa Leave, it has been important to me not to have the television on (and in Hong Kong, we don’t have many options anyway). Apparently, in studies they have found that when the television is on a lot, even as background noise, down the road there is a higher instance of that child having a hard time focusing. There will probably be tons of ways to diminish his ability to focus, so I figure if I can control this one factor, it is a good idea.
From a practical perspective, it would be easier to have the television on – our little guy is super visual, and he loves to watch anything on a screen. But, I made the call that when we are at home during the day, the tv stays off, and we stay engaged with one another. If I am doing any “house things”, I am talking with him while doing them and he plays, and otherwise we are playing, reading, and doing things like tummy time or helping him get more confident on things like sitting up. To make listening to music a part of the way we operate is both good for him, but also good for me so I don’t feel super isolated.
The little guy has not really shown much interest in music since birth (again aside from 1 song). As a visual guy, the thing that would calm him down during those first few months where he was not super calm was not a song, or music, but looking at bright light or a contrast in colors. He does like “city noise” – we have an app that we used to use that has a lot of sounds, and one is the sound of a city. This is fortunate being in a place like Hong Kong, where that noise is literally music to his ears.
Anyway, as music is so important for his development, I have been experimenting with playing him different types – jazz, classical, alternative, rock. He seems to be into fairly upbeat music – for example he likes Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, and some U2 (not the new album), but not the Cranberries. He is not huge into classical music overall, but he does like piano. As one of the small handful of people who is still not into Spotify, today I turned on the iTunes “radio” feature and played “80s hits”. This, the little guy loved. Normally he is not too happy in his bouncer for more than 15 minutes, but today he was jammin’ to the 80’s, and all the synthesizer sounds that are involved in 80’s music for a while longer. There were 2 exceptions: he did not seem too pumped by Madonna, and there is 1 musician he really did not like: Michael Jackson. I guess he’s more musically evolved than I thought 😉