Children love singing, clapping their hands, and dancing to music, and it would be wise for parents to encourage this behavior. Why? Kids can benefit greatly from listening to, engaging with, and learning how to play music. Here are some of the ways that music can benefit a child:

Improves memory.

Are you tired of your kids scrambling around to find a notebook or jacket as they get ready for school? Help your child improve his memory by exposing him to music on a regular basis. Research has shown that listening to music stimulates the brain and improves the child’s ability to retain information and learn. This could help them perform better in school, so turn up the tunes while you chauffeur your children around!

Strengthens verbal and communication skills.

A number of studies have shown that music can improve a child’s verbal and communication skills. One study introduced children between the ages of 4 and 6 to a month of rhythm, pitch, and melody training. At the end of the month, the children’s ability to understand words and their meanings had improved.

Another study looked at one-year-old children who attended music lessons with their parents. The researchers found that these children were able to communicate more clearly and expressed more emotion than children who were not exposed to music. These studies clearly show that music can benefit children of all ages.

Stimulates early development.

Music is so powerful that it can even benefit babies while they are still in the womb! Studies have found that exposing unborn babies to classical music can have an effect on their physical and mental development after birth.

One particular study found that babies who listened to 70 hours of classical music during the last few weeks of pregnancy had better motor and linguistic skills at six months old than babies that were not exposed to music. If you’re expecting a child, turn on light classical music towards the end of your pregnancy to help your child’s development.

Enhances their emotional intelligence.

Music can evoke strong emotional reactions in anyone—even children. Research has shown that when children listen to music, they are able to detect different moods and emotions in the lyrics and melodies. This helps them pick up on other people’s moods and emotions more easily. Music also allow them to develop a greater awareness of their own feelings. As a result, children may become more compassionate and empathetic towards others after being exposed to music at a young age.

Playing instruments can be beneficial, too.

Listening to music isn’t the only way that children can benefit from it—playing instruments helps their development, too. In fact, one study found that children who were involved in music lessons had a better understanding of tough mathematical concepts than other children.

Kids in music lessons also demonstrated more creativity than other children their age. If you child shows an interest in music, encourage him to learn how to play an instrument so he can enjoy these benefits.

Now that you know how music benefits your child, it’s time to crank up the volume! As long as the music is age appropriate, meaning it doesn’t contain any inappropriate lyrics, it will positively benefit your child’s development.

Kids are not exactly known for being neat and tidy. Keeping up with the trail of toys and other things your children leave behind on a daily basis can be challenging, and putting things away can be an even bigger obstacle. Kids’ rooms may be full of stuff, especially since kids always seem to be taking things out and not putting them back. Here are some ways you can declutter your child’s room to help maximize space and cut down on cleaning time.

Toy Rotation

Buying toys for kids is always a bit of a gamble. You might find something you think they’ll like or they may ask for something specific only to have them play with it and forget all about it. In other cases, your children may be “into” certain items for periods at a time but not all the time. You can create a toy rotation where you round up all of your child’s toys and separate them into bins or boxes. Keep only one box of “current” toys out at any given time, and take out other items as kids ask for them. This way, you only have a limited number of toys out and about at any given time, lessening the amount of time you spend putting them away as well as freeing up some space in your child’s room. This toy rotation system can also help you learn more about toys or other objects your children may never end up playing with, which you can then consider donating to family, friends, or toy drives.

Kid-Proof What You Can

Make sure that certain areas like drawers and closets are kid-proofed, especially for younger children. Paying attention to not only cluttered closets, open drawers can be dangerous for small children, but access to these areas can tempt kids to empty everything inside onto the floor and around the house. By limiting or controlling access to certain storage space, you can have more of a handle on how much of a mess your kids make, plus you can teach kids to think about what they want to play with or do with more focus, encouraging them to manage their time and make decisions on their own.

Maximize Your Wall Space for Storage  

Furniture can take up a lot of room, and it can be expensive, too. Consider limiting furniture like toy boxes, sets of drawers and other such bulky pieces of furniture to only the essentials and increase your shelf space. Shelving frees up the center of the room while still allowing you to put things away or organize items or reading books in a visual manner that can double as storage as well as decoration!

Ask Kids for Help

It’s important that you teach your children the importance of picking up after themselves, but it helps to encourage them to do so in a healthy way. It is important that you are not too controlling with what kids do or have access to (like above, you can kid-proof certain areas, but limit this to storage while leaving “current” toy boxes and other items open for your kids to peruse and access freely when they’d like) and that telling them to clean their room isn’t made out to be an overwhelming, and often repeated, command that is eventually ignored and/or resented. When asking your kids to clean their room, make sure to give them specific instructions. Instead of saying something vague like “Clean your room,” say something more direct like “Pick up all the toys and put them in the bin,” or “Try to put all of your books away.” By breaking down the task, it makes the whole chore sound and feel easier, as well as more manageable and less overwhelming.

It’s important that parents and guardians test things out and see what works best for their children. Each kid is different, and different tactics may work more than others, but there are plenty of ways in which you can improve your life and your child’s life by decluttering their room and by making cleaning much less of a chore.

As the school year wraps for summer recess, kids are anticipating a break from studies…and nightly reading. But experts advise against parents allowing their kids to take a three-month long literary hiatus. While summer break keeps kids out of classrooms, experts say that the reading must continue.

According to Reading is Fundamental, “during the summer months, all children are at risk of losing some of the learning obtained during the school year.” Once a reading gap opens, overcoming the deficit becomes harder and the child risks falling behind their peers.  Children in low-income communities are especially at risk of falling behind during the summer.

Promote literacy at home by making books a part of summer vacation. Older kids should read daily; encourage the habit by allowing them to pick their own books online or at the library. Thrift stores also have a trove of great reads at incredibly inexpensive prices (some paperbacks cost a quarter!). If younger children are not yet at a stage where they can read alone, parents should take the lead by reading aloud. For personalized children’s books, however, try to encourage younger kids to at least read their name throughout the story.

personalized childrens book

The National Education Association (NEA) reports that “26 percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet. This is compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently.”

While not all kids may willingly sit down with a good book, there are many tips and tricks that parents can use to encourage and reward regular summer reading habits:

Be a parent who reads!

Parents need to show kids the joy of books. Read in front of kids; spend your spare time reading a good book. When children see that parents find reading enjoyable, they are more likely to pick up a book, too. Kids learn by watching parents. How can we expect our children to read if we don’t ever open a book? Actions always speak louder than words.

Start a family book club.

Some children’s books are actually even better when read as an adult. Parents will find deeper stories in books like “Ramona and Her Father” or “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” when they re-read them as adults. Have the entire family read a book that fits on the most basic level of the youngest reader. Discuss each individual chapter as a family and point out thoughts and feelings of the characters. Try to read and discuss a few books each month. Then, at the end of the summer, vote on which book was the favorite.

Get ‘Personal’ with Personalized Children’s Books

Choose personalized children’s books for younger kids that integrate the child’s name and photo into the story. Personalized children’s books are a wonderful way to pique a child’s interest in a story and make them feel part of the adventure. If the book is on their reading level, have children sit and read independently. When reading personalized children’s books aloud, have kids try to predict what they think their character will do next in the book.

Reward readers.

For kids that kick and scream every time they have to read a book, implement a reading rewards system. Children may be rewarded for a certain number of books read or for simply finishing a chapter book. Parents can choose how they wish to set up reading goals. Let children choose rewards, but make sure the reward fits the goal. If they want an expensive game or toy, make them earn it!

When the final bell of the school season rings, don’t let kids leave their books behind. Children who read during the summer are better prepared for the next school year. Playing catch up after falling behind in reading can be nearly impossible. Make sure kids have a literary head-start next year by keeping the books open and the library cards active!

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