Just over one-third of new parents with kids under the age of 5 (38 percent) still sing lullabies at bedtime, according to a new YouGov poll of over 2,000 adults. But science suggests that they should be singing lullabies — and they’re doing their kids a disservice by skipping this ritual.
A wealth of research, like one study out of the University of Montreal, indicates that lullabies are ultimately good for babies. Science suggests that songs like “Rock-a-Bye Baby” and “Frère Jacques” keep babies calm twice as long as talking to them, largely because music generally helps to regulate the emotions of both children and adults. And research from the Great Ormond Street Hospital shows that lullabies help to make children feel better.
In fact, according to Sally Goddard-Blythe, director of the U.K.’s Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, they’re also proven precursors to later educational success and emotional well-being. Another study published by the National Literacy Trust found that singing songs and rhymes to both babies and young children supports reading development and language skills since they need to listen carefully to predict.
The majority of those who do still sing to their children (70 percent) are 45 years of age or older, which means that millennial parents are the ones mostly phasing out of the bedtime ritual. It’s not entirely their fault — many of these new parents don’t know the words to these traditional lullabies. While 87 percent of those over 65 know the words to Rock-a-Bye Baby, only 57 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds could sing the whole rhyme, according to a survey by Jakemans menthol throat and cough sweets.
Perhaps all it takes is some new modern-day tunes.
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