Why you must pay attention to the sounds surrounding your child and why some toys are dangerous.
You probably spent weeks making sure that you had the right car seat, the best stroller, the appropriate clothes and nursery for your child. It takes time and effort to make informed decisions about parenting and about our child’s environment. Today, I would like to ask you to consider an aspect of your child’s environment that you may not have thought about. What is your child’s “sonic environment?” What sounds are they surrounded by? How safe are their toys? Is your home helping your child to fully develop their senses or is it handicapping them before they have even begun?
If you have never stopped to think about this, you are not alone. As adults we have developed filters as coping mechanisms against loud or overwhelming sounds. We can cope with music or television being on “in the background” because, for us, there is a “background.” Not so with our babies and small children. They pay attention to everything and it is either aiding their development or overwhelming them. This is one of the reasons babies and small children need to sleep so much. They are processing their world and if they are overwhelmed, the only defense they have is to turn off.
Even more concerning is the fact that consistent exposure to noisy toys with a noise level over 85 decibels can cause deafness in children. Babies and toddlers have shorter arms so they bring these toys closer to their ears than we would. Their ear canals are still developing and are narrower than ours which causes noises to echo more loudly. If a toy is too loud for you to tolerate, it is deafening to your child.
So what can you do? How can you ensure a “sound” environment for your child? Here is how.
- Limit or eliminate noisy toys from your home. If you have a noisy toy that you want to keep, find a way to quiet it down by adjusting the volume or putting duct tape over the speakers.
- Establish “quiet times” during the day to help everyone reset their sensitivities. Build an appreciation of quiet into your home routine. This is when their senses are really allowed to develop in a natural and wonderful way.
- Eliminate all background noise from television, computers, electronics and other devices. If you are not watching it or using it, turn it off.
- Surround yourself with quality music which features a human voice. Pay attention to the music that comes in baby swings and other baby equipment. If it annoys you, it really annoys your baby. Respect your child’s growing sensitivities and expose them to quality sounds.
- Talk and sing to your baby. Your voice is the sweetest sound in their environment. Let your voice be heard.
- Watch Amy’s interview on Fox 23 about the importance of creating a safe sonic environment here.
Amy Robbins-Wilson, MA is a Musical Parenting Expert and Healing Music Artist. She is the award winning author of Transformational Mothering and the creator of the Mommy Jingles program. Sign up for your free Musical Parenting Video Tips at http://www.lullaby-link.com. Learn more about Amy and her work at http://www.amyrobbinswilson.com