The Impact of Music on the Mental Health of Children

The Impact of Music on the Mental Health of Children

Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by

Music serves to entertain. However, anyone who loves music, whether as a listener or as a creator, can attest to the fact that it can do more.

Music can recall forgotten memories, improve moods, and foster a deeper connection between people. There have been numerous studies that looked at how music affects humans and found that not only does a song elate us, it improves our health.

One study even found that, among patients with fibromyalgia, listening to music for just one hour per day can significantly reduce pain.

Music has already proven to aid in the development and growth of children. Participating in the string, keyboard, or piano learning lessons results in better academic performance. They retain information better and understand complex topics faster. Moreover, they become more creative.

Music also has the power to improve the mental health of young people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1 percent of all American children aged 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with anxiety. Meanwhile, 3.2 percent of kids in the same age range have depression.

More than ever, children are at risk of experiencing mental health issues. Here is how music can help.

Music Calms

Anxiety is a natural emotion. Everyone feels anxious, whether they are about to speak in front of a crowd or because they encountered a dangerous situation. However, when feelings of anxiety are constant, it can lead to adverse health consequences.

Anxiety among children may result in sleeplessness, headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue.

Music has proven to relax the mind and body. One method used by mental health professionals in addressing anxiety among young people is music therapy. Through listening to music, a therapist can work with and better connect with patients.

One research found that, when stressed, young people have an innate need to listen to specific kinds of music. It shows the relationship between young people and the music they listen to. Their favorite songs can offer them emotional support during difficult situations.

There are also certain types of music that have calming effects. Combined with treatment, listening to calming music reduces anxiety more effectively compared to conventional therapy.

Music Aids Peaceful Sleep

Mothers are well aware that music can promote peaceful sleep among children. Lullabies, after all, can put an energetic or restless baby to doze off.

Soothing songs and gentle rhythms have been observed to also improve sleep among elementary school children and even adults. One study found that those who listened to music for 45 minutes before bed had better quality sleep on the very first night. The impact of music on sleep was even greater in the long-term when participants incorporated it into their evening routine.

Previous research has shown that there is a very close link between sleep and mental health, especially among children. When young people do not get adequate sleep, they wake up groggy, go through the day irritable, and unable to focus on their tasks at hand. Sleeplessness is also more common among children who experience anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Music Can Form a Stronger Bond Between Parent and Child

When parents share their favorite songs and artists with their children, they form a better connection.

Previous research is suggesting that listening, singing along, and dancing to music is, increasingly, becoming an important bonding activity for the family. Although, as they grow older, children tend to resist older songs, it still creates a positive mark in their memories that they will carry into adulthood.

To assess the impact of shared music between children and parents, the scientists asked participants (157 young adults) how often they listened to the same music with their parents and how often they engaged in musical activities together such as going to performances or playing instruments.

They found that those who had musical experiences with their families at every age level also had better parent-child relationships. However, the impact of shared music was much more pronounced among adolescents because, while singing along and dancing to music is more common among toddlers, teenagers are much less willing to participate. It is rare and, therefore, more meaningful.

The relationship between parents and children plays an important role in shaping the mental and emotional health of young people. They have a much lower risk of anxiety and depression later on.

Exposing children to music, whether while listening or by playing instruments, can do wonders for their mental health. At a time when mental health conditions are common among young people, music can save them from distress.