So…we can’t be the only parents in the world who have crazy family dancing sessions. On most Friday afternoons our house turns into a crazy mash-up of 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s dance moves spanning all music genres. We gyrate around the house in a frenzy of fun – twirling, twisting, raving, flapping, trotting, hopping, dipping, diving, cha-cha-ing and dare I say a little whimsical waltzing and mild-mannered head-banging. It’s awesome.
Our children do spend a lot of time looking at my husband and I like we have literally dropped from an alien ship looking green, slimy and slightly insane. But they also giggle and beg to be flipped and flopped all over the place.
It therefore came as no surprise to me to learn that babies increase their liking for a person (and even become more cooperative) after a good ol’ dance session.
There is research that shows that adults feel greater trust and affinity for people they have just met after performing movements in sync – walking, singling, clapping, jumping, finger tapping, dancing etc. New research shows that the same theory applies to babies. Researchers from McMaster University in Canada have proved that baby-dancing is definitely one way to up your cool factor when trying to make friends with the cute and cuddly (although I don’t think it would work for dogs – they just need a dog biscuit and you’re mates for life. They’re also not great dancers).
As part of the study, 34 babies were attached by way of forward-facing slings to 34 strangers, who then danced (bounced up and down) to an instrumental version of the Beatles’ Twist and Shout. To find out whether the lack of a predictable rhythm would affect a baby’s regard for a stranger, the participants also danced to a mixed-up version of Twist and Shout. After the dancing, the babies had a play session with the strangers they had danced with; the stranger adult was asked to drop an item and researchers carefully monitored the baby’s reactions. The babies who had been dancing were more likely to help retrieve the item than the babies who had not been dancing.
Interestingly, the tempo of the music didn’t affect the friendliness of the babies; as long as the baby and the stranger had been dancing in sync with one another, the rapport was there.
The moral of the story: interpersonal synchrony makes babies like you better. So even if your little ones seem unimpressed with your dance-time antics, keep it up! Not only is it fun for you but your kids love it – babies and all.
Source: Blogs.babycenter.com – “How baby dancing enhances your cool & may boost development” (http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/how-baby-dancing-07022014-may-enhance-your-cool-boost-infant-development/)