Children, especially young ones, often have a difficult time managing their emotions. (As a parent or educator, you may be thinking this is an understatement!) Kids may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or upset, and struggle to express themselves effectively. This is where music can come in handy as a powerful tool to help children regulate their emotions and calm down — without the meltdown that comes following ineffective verbal pleas to “calm down”.
Let music and lyrics do the talking. Music has a unique ability to affect our emotions and impact temperament, changing our emotional environment. It has been found that listening to music can activate the same parts of the brain as engaging in other pleasurable activities, such as eating or laughing or hugging. This is because music triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can help regulate our mood and emotions.
When it comes to children, music can be particularly effective at regulating their emotions because it is a nonverbal medium. Children may not have the language skills to express their emotions effectively, but music can help bridge this gap. By listening to music, children can experience emotions and connect with the feelings conveyed in the song, without having to articulate them.
Music can also serve as a distraction for children who are feeling upset or anxious. By focusing on the melody and lyrics of a song, children can take their minds off whatever is causing them distress and shift their attention to something more positive.
Singing songs and nursery rhymes can also be a great way for children to regulate their emotions. Singing engages the body and mind, and can help children release pent-up energy and tension. Singing can also be a form of self-expression, allowing children to express their emotions in a safe and creative way.
In addition to helping children regulate their emotions, music can also improve their overall well-being. Studies have found that music therapy can be effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression in children, as well as improving their self-esteem and social skills.
Ways you can use music to help calm and regulate your child's emotions:
- Play calming music during times when your child is feeling upset or anxious, such as before bedtime or during a car ride.
- Encourage your child to sing along to songs they enjoy, or to create their own music through singing or playing an instrument.
- Use music as a way to transition between activities, such as playing an upbeat song to signal it's time to clean up or get ready for bed.
- Incorporate music into your child's daily routine, such as by singing a lullaby before bedtime or listening to music during playtime.
- Assign our Spotify ‘Calming Songs for Toddlers & Young Kids’ playlist to a Jooki token or figurine for your children to play on their Jooki audio player.
Music and songs can be incredibly effective at calming and regulating children's emotions. By providing a nonverbal outlet for expression, serving as a distraction, and triggering the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, music can help children manage their emotions in a healthy and positive way. So, next time your child is feeling upset or anxious, try turning on some music and see how it can transform their mood.