In the last two years, there has been an overall increase in speech delay in young children. One theory is that children have missed out on socialising with others in their age group, which is a crucial part in developing many milestones, including speech.
Music therapy is often used as an intervention to help children with speech delay. Since there is a gap in expressing themselves verbally, music and simple actions will help them sing the words rather than try to speak them. Rhythmic activities are also easy enough to follow, and have been shown to help children develop the sounds they need to learn in order to speak.
Another reason for delayed speech is language confusion, and music can play a role in navigating this barricade. Music is closely tied to language development, and stimulates the part of the brain that is related to forming and communicating words.
In the last few years, we have been working on developing parent-toddler musical programs that are specially designed to help children with delayed speech and language development. Our activities include call-and-response songs, simple rhythmic movements, and activities that allow children as young as 18 months old to express themselves fully. We also understand the value of in-person socialising, and keep batch sizes small to stay safe.
The wonderful thing about music is that it is a multisensory experience. Children get to look at different musical instruments, hear new noises, explore their environment by running around and holding things, and join in on activities. All this, plus the rush of dopamine that comes from the arts, is a great way to relax children and allow them to enjoy themselves while hitting all the milestones.
If you are a parent trying to nudge your child to start forming words and communicating, consider taking a musical approach. Simple instruments, child-friendly music in the background, and socializing with other children can go a long way.