How can music help calm kids down?
There is no doubt that music has the ability to change and influence our emotions. Think of certain songs that pull on your heart strings – perhaps take you back to another time in your life or remind you of someone special. Some music immediately makes us happy with the urge to move or dance, others can help us to calm down when we are feeling anxious and stressed. Music has the same effect on children and can be very useful for helping kids calm down when they are upset.
Music therapists define a piece of music as either simulative or sedative. Interestingly, music can be sedative for one person but not for another. A good example of this is when a child loves a music box or toy that plays the same thing over and over. While this may be quite stressful for the parent, for the child it can be soothing, help them calm down and even go to sleep.
Parents can help condition children to the calming nature of music by how they use it at home. When children are young, parents regulate the music and set the emotional atmosphere. By using music in a diverse way such as singing while preparing a meal, putting on softer calm music during quiet time, having some music to move and groove to at other times, children pick up how music can help them manage their emotions. This atmosphere regulation can start very early – simply with a parent singing to a baby.
As children grow parents can expose them to lots of different types of music and observe how their child responds. Parents will soon learn which music excites and stimulates their child and which music appears to calm and settle them.
How do I choose soothing music?
Many people assume classical music is best for calming anyone down, including children, however it totally depends on the piece. Some classical music is fast and exciting and some starts softly – building up to a loud crescendo – neither of these are very calming and may even have the opposite effect on your child.
Choose music that you like to listen to when you feel the need to ‘chill out’. In this amazing age of technology we can easily create playlists for children that can be used at any time to help calm a child down. While Spotify and YouTube are an obvious place to start, have a look on the internet and explore your options. See the articles below for other ideas too.