Creative experiences will feed the souls and imaginations of your little ones! Melanie Luckman, Artistic Director for Up and Away shares five great reasons why she loves creating live theatre for babies.
1. Brain building.
Your baby’s brain develops more in their first two years than at any other time of their life. Age-appropriate (not overstimulating) experiences fire up those brain neurons, creating positive connections in the brain that will last them a lifetime, even if they don’t remember it! Many parents are surprised by how alert and genuinely engaged their babies are during live theatre specifically designed with them in mind. They have a chance to enjoy music, rhythm, sound, facial expressions, light and laughter in a safe, intimate space at a gentle pace designed for them.
2. Connection time with their grown-up
There is nothing better for your little one than spending quality time with you. Sharing a creative experience cuddled in your arms, or lying nearby is magic for baby, especially if you can recreate parts of the experience again when you’re at home (and no you don’t have to be an expert performer for this to work). It’s so rewarding seeing a baby watching a performance then turn to Mum with a “did you see that?!” expression on their face. Seeing their parent’s reaction is an important part of face to face contact, validating their feelings and building on their lifelong social skills.
3. Build creativity and a love of arts early
Did you know newborn babies will cry in the same tones they heard in the womb (their parents’ “accent”)? Music is a creative skill you can foster from very early in life, and it is an excellent basis for language development. In live theatre for babies we use specific sounds and actions that they can follow. Just like this ability to learn from the sound of their mother, babies are able to copy and learn from gentle theatre where the pace is slow and the sounds are simple and clear. Babies understand much more than they let on!
4. Regulation and soothing
Music and peaceful sensory experiences work wonders to soothe babies and bring their brains into a calm state where they are most receptive to developing new neural pathways.The reason this is so important is because we live in a fast-paced, highly sensory world with lots of bright lights and loud noises which can easily overwhelm babies. Coming to a calm creative experience is soothing for baby and puts them in a state to learn and absorb their surroundings. And you can learn how easy it is to recreate at home.
5. Happy mum = happy baby
Those first few months can be exhausting and isolating. It’s so good for your soul to get out of the house and do something you will both enjoy, in a relaxing, baby-friendly environment. Beautiful singing by highly experienced performers and a chance to share a wonderful experience together is good for everyone’s soul.
Melanie Luckman is the Artistic Director for Up & Away, a theatre show designed for pre-walking babies and their adults. Created by Cubbin Theatre Company, it runs from the 12th-17th November at The Civic’s Wintergarden in Auckland.