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Parenting on Purpose

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Talking to your child, even from their first day on Earth, is an important tool for helping them learn. You can even talk to your baby before they’re born and facilitate some kind of learning. Babies can hear and absorb many sounds and learn to recognize their parents’ voices while still in utero. Just as they absorb the food and chemicals that their mothers ingest, babies also absorb the energy that their mother feels; her fear, excitement, joy, and love.

One of the very best things you can do for your baby is to remember that they’re like little sponges, absorbing everything around them. That is true while they’re still in the womb and also once they’re born.

There is scientific evidence that shows there’s a learning gap between children of higher income and parents with fewer means. It isn’t the money that makes the difference however, it is in their vocabulary.

You may be surprised to learn that the key difference is in how many words kids are exposed to before age four. Kids who are born into middle class homes tend to hear 30 million more words than their lower income counterparts.

Words are important in learning, but they’re not the only aspect to consider regarding development in a child’s brain. The relationship that you have with your child is the most important one they’ll ever have. Talking to them and with them facilitates learning and your mutual connection. Talk to your kids, even if they aren’t old enough to carry on a conversation. Really engage with them, not just talking at them.

Look at your child, engage them, and show them your emotions. Point out things as you walk by, whether it’s in the park or the grocery store. Let them begin to experience life and expose your kids to a variety of stimuli in a safe environment. Let them hear conversation between adults. Read books out loud. Explain what’s happening around you. They don’t have to understand your every word to benefit from this meaningful exchange.

Some parents never use baby talk with their children while others use it extensively. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, except that having a hard and fast rule in either direction is probably not a good idea. People often get silly in front of babies and talk in a voice that their boss would never recognize, and that’s natural. Even if we don’t engage in baby talk, others undoubtedly will.

There’s a lot of stress on parents to parent in a perfect manner, but children don’t understand this concept anyway. Be easy with yourself knowing that you are helping teach your child important lessons in life, just by talking to them.

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© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

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