Why Does My Toddler Love to Dance? 


It seems toddlers naturally love dancing. They automatically respond to the rhythm and tempo of music, and they just can’t stop themselves from performing random movements. It’s often a wonder why this is the case. 

Researchers have actually conducted studies about how babies and young children respond to beats and rhythm. They have found out that babies respond more to music than to speech. They start to move their heads, arms, hands, legs and feet when they hear the music. This shows the natural tendency for us humans to respond to music, dance and performing arts. 

Humans naturally respond to music 

Even we adults naturally respond to music even without awareness. When we hear something upbeat or watch someone perform, we might start to somehow “mimic” that or do “micro movements” so that we can go with the music. We might start tapping our fingers or toes in sync with the rhythm. This demonstrates our natural responsiveness to music. 

For toddlers, they might do full movements to express themselves and respond to the rhythm (in contrast to us who just settle with the “micro movements” because we’re already feeling shy or restraining ourselves). Toddlers still have that freedom and energy to express themselves. As much as possible, they want to use that energy to discover what they’re capable of. 

Why do toddlers respond to music 

There’s no clear explanation yet on why toddlers respond to music and love to dance. After all, it seems responding to music isn’t important to our survival. It’s not yet clear why humans evolved that way and retained that trait. 

One potential reason is that it just coincidentally developed along with our other abilities and predisposition. In other words, perhaps we’ve developed essential abilities that are also relevant for music processing (such as responding to alarming noises or recognising distinct sounds). Whichever is the case, how toddlers and us adults respond to music add another dimension to our humanity and experience. In addition, toddlers experience more fun and they’re able to creatively express themselves through music.