Lullaby and children: the importance and benefits

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Lullabies for children

The lullaby is not a simple expedient to make the baby fall asleep. It is so much more. We talk about it with Patrizia Vergani, Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of our city-Bicocca and co-author of a research on the role of lullabies.

In this article

  • Why are lullabies so important?
  • The development of attachment during pregnancy and lullabies
  • The role of lullabies in the mother-child bond
  • How and when do you sing a lullaby?
  • The lullabies of tradition

Why are lullabies so important?

"The importance of the attachment bond with the mother for cognitive and behavioral development is now a consolidated knowledge - explains Professor Vergani -. Numerous researches, starting with those carried out by John Bowlby, British physician and psychoanalyst (1969), emphasized intimate emotional relationship of reciprocity as the determining key of the development. Bowlby was able to observe that maternal love for the child is important for his mental well-being, just as vitamins and proteins are important for his physical well-being. Lullabies consolidate this type of attachment. "

Read also: Newborn, that's why it's important to talk to him

The development of attachment during pregnancy and lullabies

"The maternal-infant attachment already originates during pregnancy, in particular from the moment in which the mother, with the perception of fetal movements, establishes an interactive and affective relationship with the child that grows inside her. The gestures of interaction between the mother and child ranging from embracing to exchanging glances, to nutrition, to consolation, to vocal interaction, nourish the emotional bond. During prenatal life, the sensory systems of the fetus are challenged by numerous stimuli, too sound, coming from the surrounding environment, in and out of the uterus. Among all the strongest is that is represented by the maternal voice.

An interesting form of sound communication between mother and child, well known to mothers of all countries of the world, is represented by the singing which translates, already during pregnancy, into a real relationship tool.

The lullaby is the main musical composition of this sound relationship. The binary rhythm which features all lullabies, so similar to that of the heartbeat, Together with rocking movement of the child held in the arms, constitute an effective antidote to crying".

Read also: Music helps children's brain development

The role of lullabies in the mother-child bond

"The maternal voice represents the main link between prenatal life and the subsequent one, to the point that for some years in neonatal intensive care it has become an integral part of the care of premature babies. Use your voice for to sing, lullaby, console, dance, speak, is an instinctive behavior of the adult and the child has an innate predisposition to listen, to learn, to memorize the mother's voice and the sounds of the body that contains it before being born.

Using the voice, rhythmic and melodic, in the relationship with the child during the first years of life, a period of great brain plasticity, means promote

  • his linguistic competence,
  • motor behavior,
  • attention,
  • memorization
  • and also emotional regulation.

By singing you also lay the foundations for your own identity. Singing the lullaby is a useful tool even for dads that more and more often accompany future mothers on their journey in pregnancy and in the care of the newborn ".

Read also: 12 lullabies to make sweet dreams come true

How and when do you sing a lullaby?

"After giving birth, most mothers choose singing as a time of day in the evening, probably for the greater tranquility and intimacy that represent the evening hours of the day. Singing may not be easy for everyone, but we do it without shame if we are alone with our baby. Furthermore, we adults need to find something pleasant for us too during the first months of children's life in which joy and tenderness go hand in hand with tiredness from lost sleep, with the tension of not being able to understand and calm the crying, with the monotony of moments spent with the baby in her arms, and singing feels good.

Singing and forgetting the mobile phone is good not only for the child but also for us.

La ninna nanna it has universal characteristics and is similar for all ages, because it is a form of chanting similar to the psalmody that monks of different and distant religions have used for centuries. We can say that the contents can be different but the lullaby is similar for all ages. If we dig into the memory we all have a childhood melody and often always the same one that returns in the most intimate moments or moments of solitude ".

Read also: Lullabies from the world

The lullabies of tradition

"Every culture, every people has a traditional repertoire handed down and well known by mothers. The best known of the Del Paesena tradition are

  • Star little star,
  • The coffee bean lullaby,
  • Good night to you.

Those that express the greatest emotional harmony between mother and child are

  • My beautiful eye,
  • Look at those beautiful little eyes,
  • Squeeze the bear. Ninne nanne

which also contemplate the game are finally

  • Nursery rhyme,
  • Good night to the butterfly,
  • The dog sleeps,
  • Ring around the rosie".

The interviewee

Patrizia Vergani, professor of gynecology and obstetrics of the University of our city-Bicocca and co-author of a research on the role of lullabies

  • ninna nanna
  • sleep
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