Want to build a stronger bond with your toddler? One way to do that is to incorporate synchronous movement into your lives. Researchers have found that there is something about moving together, the same way, at the same time, that causes the bond between people to strengthen. It is time to play some music and dance with your toddler!
Researchers at the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior at McMaster University did a study that involved 68 babies. Their study revealed that synchronous movement caused the babies to form social bonds with the person whom they shared the synchronous movement with.
The researchers used music in the study. They started by having one researcher hold a baby in a forward-facing carrier. That researcher stood facing a second researcher. Obviously, this meant the baby was looking at the researcher who was not holding him or her.
Music was played, and the two researchers started gently bouncing up and down. Of course, this meant that the baby who was being held was also bouncing along with them.
Some of the babies were being gently bounced in sync with the researcher whom they were watching. Other babies were gently bounced out of sync with the researcher they were looking at. They were being bounced in an entirely different tempo than the adult researcher they were watching.
What they found was very interesting. After the music stopped, the baby was set down. The researcher who was facing the baby (not the researcher that was holding the baby) did a series of tasks in front of the baby. In one task, the researcher was using a marker to draw a picture. She pretended to drop the marker.
The babies that had been bounced in sync with that researcher were more likely to “toddle over”, pick up the marker, and hand it back to the researcher than were the babies who had been bounced out of sync. The in-sync babies came over and helped the researcher 50 percent of the time, and they responded to the dropped marker more quickly than the other babies did.
The dropped marker was a test of altruism. Would the synchronous movement cause the baby to form a bond with the researcher who bounced along with them? They did! Parents who want to form a stronger bond with their babies, or toddlers, can use this information. Turn on some music and gently bounce with your baby. Doing so is good exercise, fun, and a pleasant way strengthen bonds.
Image by Richard Elzey on Flickr.