We all want to raise kind, compassionate kids, and it turns out that dancing with your baby (yes, dancing) can help you accomplish this goal, according to a new study published in Developmental Science.
The deets: An assistant held each 14-month-old baby and gently bounced to music. The babies either faced a researcher who bounced in-sync with the way the baby was bounced, or who moved at a different tempo. When the song ended, the researcher facing the baby dropped a marker to see if the little one would try to pick it up.
Researchers found that 50 percent of babies who’d been bounced in-sync with the researcher picked up the marker and returned it, compared to only 30 percent of those who’d been bounced out of sync with the researcher. In-sync babies also reached for the dropped marker more quickly than their counterparts.
Can cultivating a kinder baby really be as simple as pushing the "play" button? Quite possibly: “One theory is that when people move in similar ways to us, we see them as being similar to us, so we’re more likely to consider them friends,” says Laurel Trainor, PhD, professor of psychology at McMaster University, and author of the study. “Our study also suggests holding and moving with your baby is important for building a bond.”
So while baby swings and bouncers are great when you need to have your hands free, bouncing with your baby in your arms has benefits far beyond keeping Baby calm. Consider activities like "Mommy and Me" classes that have music and movement to help foster that spirit of connection and compassion.