Posted tagged ‘music’

Music versus television

September 4, 2008

KM posted, “I have read that having the television on as background noise can be distracting to a child and affect their attentiveness to tasks and play. Do you find this to be true concerning music? My two year old child is an active child with a short attention span. We listen to kid music most of the day, including while she plays. Often times, she’ll sing along to the song while playing. Is is better not to listen while playing, listen only to instrumental music, or does it make a difference?”

Leaving a TV on all day is asking for trouble. Kids who grow up watching more TV are more likely to have trouble reading, more likely to be obese, more likely to end up on medicine for attention deficit disorder, and less likely to successfully complete high school. TV, to put it bluntly, is a worthless time-suck. It exposes your child to misleading yet powerful messages that encourage junk eating and a twisted attitude about bodies and sex. The shows are bad, and the commercials are worse. If you’d like you child to watch TV, choose an age-appropriate, taped item without commercials. Watch it, then turn it off and talk about it.

Listening to music doesn’t have any of these negatives. It has not been associated with any of these bad outcomes. For a while there was enthusiasm for music listening to help toddlers or babies—the so called “Mozart” effect was said to increase brain power. The research showing this was weak, and it’s not fair to say that Mozart will help a child’s brain grow. But it is wonderful music. Whether you like classical, jazz, hip-hop, or rock-and-roll, any kind of music in the background is a nice accompaniment to the day.

Except yodeling. That’s just wrong.