As a mom, when my kids were little the thought of them being gifted a toy that made music of any kind made me cringe. I am sure that many of you feel the same way. However, toys that have musical components are not only some of the best toys for them to play with but they also have long-term positive effects on your child’s development. This can be especially true for special needs children.
Recently, Dr. Suzanne Hanser, Berklee’s Music Therapy Department Chair, stated, “There is scientific evidence that music therapy influences children on the autism spectrum in several ways, like enhancing skills in communication, interpersonal relationships, self-regulation, coping strategies, stress management, and focusing attention.” One of the most amazing things about music is that it has no boundary in all the world. It is a part of every culture, every language, and every nationality. One of my absolute favorite quotes is from Victor Hugo: “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
The reason that musical toys are such a benefit is that the part of the brain that interprets music is also responsible for complex reasoning skill development as well as math and reading comprehension. Interesting fact, Celine Dion, who is a multiple award-winning singer from Canada, learned English from singing songs in English. I know I can still remember songs from when I was a kid, but there are times I can’t even remember what I came into the kitchen for.
Music is such a wonderful way for kids to learn so many positive developmental, social, and interpersonal skills. I know personally if I need to get things done or get the kids to get things done, I turn off the television and turn the music on. Not only does it seem to make the task at hand less stressful but also time seems to fly by and before you know it you are done. So the next time your child receives a toy that plays music, don’t cringe; just remember all the positive things your child will get from playing with it and that most toys these days have off buttons.