The song that promises to make children happy

Worryingly, I do find myself quite funny. (OK, make that very funny.)

I’ve been known to cry with laughter at texts I’ve sent to friends or stories I’ve told to my (mostly) patient husband.

Understandably, others don’t always share my brand of humour, but thankfully when it comes to my kids, they’re in the mummy’s funny camp.

I won’t lie, I bask in their appreciation and it feeds my secret belief that I really am quite funny.

So you can imagine how intrigued I was to learn that I could soon be redundant as my children’s chief entertainer. Yep, apparently a new song is guaranteed to make babies and young children laugh and smile.

At eight months my youngest is very generous with her smiles and giggles, and therefore the perfect candidate for test driving the tune in question, C&G baby club’s ‘The Happy Song’ (currently No.1 in the iTunes Children’s Chart, no less).

Dr Jessamy and her two children
Dr Jessamy and her two children

It’s the first scientifically tested song created to encourage happiness and laughter for babies aged 6 – 24 months and has been produced in consultation with one thousand British parents, leading child and music psychologists at Goldsmith University and Grammy award-winning musician, Imogen Heap.

Parents were asked to name the top noises that make their little ones cheerful to contribute to the track. Top sounds for making babies happy included Boo (66%), raspberry (57%), Kissing noises (43%) other babies laughing (28%). Nothing outside the realms of my comedic repertoire so far…

Once composed it was played to 56 babies and their reactions were recorded, which included monitoring movements, facial expressions, heart rate and vocalisations to see which parts of the song created a positive mood. The researchers found it brought smiles of delight, laughter and happiness to 56 babies.

My littlest did enjoy it when I played it to her, the only trouble was I’m not sure how happy it made me.

It would be difficult to make an argument for it’s musical merit… My five year old son summed it up perfectly “I think babies like it, but it’s not so good for children or adults”.

With my clinical psychology hat on, I’m not sure there’s anything scientifically ground-breaking in their findings.

The sample size isn’t big enough to draw any firm conclusions, and the testing doesn’t sound particularly rigorous. I can’t help but wonder if there was a little bit of bias towards the outcome they may have wanted to find, too.

In terms of fun, though, it gets a big tick.

You certainly can’t argue with making babies happy and research at the “babylab” (a leading infant research unit) is for a very good cause, as they are also hunting for information that could eventually be used to determine how different developmental groups – for instance, people with autism or Down’s syndrome – respond to stimuli at different stages, which might ultimately lead to interventions.

It’s definitely worth a listen – you can find it on C&G baby club’s social media channels, and on Spotify.

I’m going to be adding it to my ‘HELP! I’m stuck in a traffic jam what am I going to do to keep the baby amused’ armoury.

My psychology experience is with adults, but from my limited experience with my own children, my top tips for way’s to amuse your baby are:

  • If you’re listening to music, make sure the baby can join in – I think they prefer to be making the noises rather than just listening to them. Try giving them something to bang, a shaker or a bell
  • Keeping with the music theme, dancing (to my choice of music) always gets a giggle, and if it involves being jumped up in the air, swung around or turned upside down even better.
  • Babies love repetition as they like to predict what’s coming next, so most things on repeat get a laugh, especially if you sometimes delay the last bit or it involves things being hidden and re-appearing.
  • My youngest has the added bonus of older siblings and loves watching what they’re up to, seeing other children, can be a great way to get babies smiling.
  • Silly voices, also get a top score – in fact generally making an idiot of yourself goes down well!
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