Kids Music 101: Music & Emotions – Music for Stimulating Positive Behaviour

This post is by regular contributor Christine Gora of Kids Music Toys.

Marketers have known for years that music is a powerful tool for encouraging particular consumer outcomes. There has been much research into the effects that volume, speed, pitch and types of music have on product preference and even the amounts of money spent at the supermarket. If music has such an influence on adult behaviour then how can parents utilise music to encourage positive behaviour in their little ones?

In my last article I discussed the use of music as a calming influence, particularly in getting babies to settle and off to sleep. In the same way music can be used as an encouragement for action and a stimulator of good behaviour and learning.

Opening Deaf Ears
Have you ever found that your instructions seem to fall on deaf ears? Human nature being what it is, kids just sometimes don’t want to hear what we are saying and don’t want to do what we are asking. This is where music can transform the nature of a request into an irresistible game. Just this week I was reminded of this in my music class for children 18 months to 3 years. We have been singing and moving to a song with the words “Oh in my house I help clean up with a dust a dust a dust a dust all day…” The children eagerly grab their cleaning cloths and dusters and sing and work along with their mums and me to the beat. The music has a brisk working tempo, it adds an air of joyfulness to the process – it’s just fun to do and everyone participates.

In the same way every time we put baskets of instruments away I sing a little song, “Bells away, bells away, gently put your bells away.” This simple request is no longer perceived as a chore to be ignored or defied, but as a game.  As I have used it on a regular basis, it is part of the ritual of our weekly lesson. You might like to try the same idea at home with simple things like putting books away or packing up toys. It doesn’t have to be complicated just a simple melody that you use consistently and regularly with a positive attitude so it becomes a part of the fabric of your daily routine.

If you would like an MP3 version you can find “In My House” here.

Music For Active Learning
There are times when you want to encourage action rather than relaxation or passive listening. Music that encourages children to get up and move and join in with actions can assist with learning control over the body, understanding about body parts, as well as learning concepts such as high, low, over, under, through etc.  Learning to count, and even learning your ABCs can be made simpler through music and song. How many children learn to sing the alphabet well before they can say the alphabet?

A good CD for encouraging activity is Get Up & Move. You can find it here on the Kids Music Toys website.

If you would like some more settling or quiet time music as discussed in the previous article then I now have in store You Are My Sunshine, a CD collection of 26 tracks particularly suitable for calming.

Does your child respond to music as a motivator?

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{Image: Filomena Scalise}


  1. This is really cool. My friend is doing her Psychology thesis on music and psychology, and it talks a lot about the effects of music on the brain. This is great. Thanks for sharing! =)

  2. Fantastic post! Wonderful information. Thanks for sharing!

  3. My daughter has always loved music, and it’s amazing how it can even lift your mood. One of our favorites for kids is a cd by Elizabeth Mitchell “you are my little bird”

    Also, Raffi is a classic. I listened to him when I was a kid and now my daughter loves him too.

  4. We have a list of things for my girls to do after swimming, it never seemed to happen and I was always nagging them through each step. So on the way home from swimming I sang the list –

    go to laundry and get undressed (they wear their wet swimmers and towel home with dressing gown on top)
    Then to the bathroom for a warm shower
    Dress in our PJs
    And then we can have dinner!

    I sing it very badly but the last two lessons we sang this on the way home from swimming and it worked. Thank you 🙂

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