We spend a lot of time in class playing with the steady beat.
We dance to it,
pat to it,
clap our hands to it,
step to it,
rock to it,
wave to it,
and we get out instruments and think of creative ways to play along to it.
It is one of the most foundational aspects of making music. Being able to keep a steady beat allows a person to play in ensemble with others and interpret music as it was intended.
Every baby is born with an awareness of steady beat (thanks to mom's heartbeat), but it takes some exposure and being able to practise it, to be able to keep a steady beat with, and without, an external sound source. A stong sense of steady beat helps your child co-ordinate their movements. As your baby internalizes the steady beat you will see it evidenced in their co-ordinated movements of rocking, patting, even walking.
Additionally, as your baby grows into toddlerhood, a growing sense of steady beat helps with co-ordinating movements with timing, such as bouncing and catching a ball. Beyond even the physical movements, steady beat helps with your child's communication as they learn the rhythm of language. Speaking in smooth cadence is a key factor in effective communication. Tests have shown, too, that children with steady beat internalization are better readers and more successfull in math skills.
So as you are tapping your rhythm sticks this week, remember that your modelling is going a loooong way today. Your child is building bridges to stronger communication skills, strengthening eye-hand co-ordination, increasing their sense of group belongingness, and ...having FUN!