As early as 23 weeks pregnant, they can hear you. A strong bond is developed with just the sound of your voice. When they smile at you and you smile back at them, when they grab your finger and they lock with yours, when they wake up you are the first person they see, and when they cry you come to their rescue. When they attempt to roll over, crawl and walk you are there to catch their fall. Your babies sense trust from the early beginnings of their life through the warmth, security and protection you give them.
Now your baby is growing and developing into a toddler. They are your echo, shadow, and mini me. One day your daughter tells you, “oh my goodness Mama”! Shocked and in disbelief you wonder where did she learn this from? You are so sure to watch what you say around her. Yes, it may not be a swear, but it definitely was not something you wanted in her growing vocabulary. So you start to think to yourself, if she can pick up on something as small as this, what other bad habits could she pick up from you?!
At this moment I realized that as early as 2 years old our children hear and watch our every move. They pick up more than we realize. So what does this mean exactly? If our children can easily pick up on bad habits, imagine what they can learn from us by setting them up with right from wrong.
When we expect our children to always say please and thank you, are we always showing appreciation for others? When we ask them to use their words, are we being thoroughly communicative? When we tell them to be patient, are We? When we tell them there is no iPad during supper time, are our cell phones put away and voice machine turned on as well? When we tell them to put their toys away, are we putting our belongings where they need to go? When we expect them to say sorry, are we also apologetic every time? When we want our children to know they are smart and beautiful, how often do we really make them feel this way?
When our children develop trust, they believe in us. When we show them how proud and appreciative we are of them, they feel good about who they are. When we are happy with ourselves, responsible, respectful and empathetic with others, they can learn to be too. You will be surprised with how much they already know.
When I cough, my daughter will ask if I need some water. When she sees a scratch or a bruise on me, she will ask if I need a band aid. When I get emotional from watching a movie, she asks if I am okay. When I step onto a chair to clean high cupboards, she tells me to be careful and holds onto my ankles so I won’t fall. After refusing to clean up her toys, and getting in trouble for it… that evening before bed, she still manages to tell me I am the best mother ever! My daughter is only 2 years old, and already she has learned to be sympathetic, appreciative and compassionate.
Our children will always seek our approval, praise, encouragement, hope, security, and love. From the moment they hear your voice in the womb, to that very first moment they meet you, and to the rest of their lives, they look up to you. LEAD BY EXAMPLE for your children.
Jennie Lee Paraiso