Putting children to bed can be the challenging time for any parent. Every family is different—some cherish complete silence at a child’s bedtime, while others enjoy singing, storytelling, or playing meditation music for children. Various arguments can certainly be made for the many methods of soothing an infant or child to sleep, but here are some of the benefits of playing meditation music for infants and children before bed.
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In an experiment by Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, researchers played lullabies and children’s songs for 37 children who were patients at the hospital. The children’s heart rates and reported levels of pain were measured during meditation music therapy, and they were compared to measurements taken when the children were read to or left alone. Researchers found that the measurements fell only during the meditation music therapy. Professor Tim Griffiths, a neurologist, uses MRI scanners to look deep into the brain. “There’s a more ancient part of the brain in the limbic system, which is responsible for the emotional responses to meditation music. What I think is happening here is that the emotional part of the brain is being stimulated by the meditation music, more so than the reading stimulus, and this is decreasing the arousal level and that in turn is affecting the pain response levels,” said Griffiths.
A study on the effects of background meditation music and sleep quality found that children who listen to background meditation music at naptime and bedtime had improved sleep quality. Another study concluded that “relaxing classical meditation music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems. Nurses could use this safe, cheap and easy to learn the method to treat insomnia.”
Boost Brain Development
A Northwestern University study notes that the brain of a person who is sleeping soundly still listens and learns. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends meditation music experiences in early childhood because “through meditation music, babies and toddlers can come to better understand themselves and their feelings, learn to decipher patterns and solve problems, and discover the world around them in rich, complex ways. Most important, sharing meditation music experiences with the people they love makes very young children feel cherished and important.”
Check out some of these meditation music videos the next time you want to help your child to relax. View hundreds of more videos on the Choir’s YouTube channel.
It boosts self-esteem
Lessons offer a forum where children can learn to accept and give constructive criticism. Turning negative feedback into positive change helps build self-confidence, Regester says. Group lessons, in particular, may help children understand that nobody, including themselves or their peers, is perfect, and that everyone has room for improvement. “Presenting yourself in public is an important skill whether you become a professional meditation musician or not,” Larew says. This skill is easily transferable to public speaking, she adds. And, of course, once a child is advanced enough, she’ll possess meditation musical skills that will help her stand out.