15 Things You Didn't Know About Babies.
The amount of information we have access to is quite mind-blowing when you really think about it. An everyday phrase has become "Google it", because our natural desire to know can be easily cured by today's technology. What's even more mind-blowing, all the information in the world and when it comes to children we are still going about things all wrong.
Sure, we know how to keep them alive, we love them, we let them play, blah blah blah... That's not what I'm referring to. Almost anyone can keep a baby alive; what I am referring to is the misconception that babies are little empty vessels to be filled with information and facts. Or that you can just coast your way through the first few years because "they won't remember". Babies are born as little scientists, not figuratively... literally! They are born with immense potential and capabilites, a deep desire to be connected and belong, and they will gather an infinite reservoir of life experiences and memories. Some of those life experiences and memories won't be of a conscious memory, but each and every one will shape them into who they will become.
My outlook on children changed the moment I brought my daughter home. I couldn't let her out of my sight, I physically, mentally, and emtionally couldn't. She had just spent the last 40 weeks and 4 days inside of me, and the thought of being away for one second seemed to be too much. Many seasoned mothers thought this to be silly, funny, or a honest mistake in the making... but why? Why is it when it comes to raising children, we should do what has been done in the past? It would be like telling people not to "Google it" but to look it up in the encyclopedia, because that's what our parents did and it worked for them; no need to research alternative ways, parenting has already been figured out!
It's backwards. Children are literally our future, one day they will be running the show! Don't you think we oughta be spending a little more energy on how to best raise our future generation, instead of guilting and forcing parents to raise their children in a more "traditional" approach?! Or being too lazy to even care! If you haven't noticed, our world right now is pretty messed up; so I honestly don't think anyone has this parenting shit figured out! We could all stand to learn a little more, and to welcome the idea of a new approach to parenting.
So without further ado, here are 15 Things You Didn't Know About Babies!
1. By age two, a child's brain will have reached 80% of its adult volume. Meaning, the last two years of experiences, events, memories, have now formed 80% of your little mircale's brain! Tell me again "they won't remember"! A child's early experiences not only determines what information enters their brain but also influences how their brain processes that information.
2. Newborns in an English-speaking home can tell when their parent says something of a foreign lanuage. They lose this ability around one year, as their brain has been hired wired to speak English. Speaking different languages to your baby will make it easier for them to pick them up later in life!
3. A child's vocabulary will quadruple between their first and second birthday. This is called a vocabulary explosion, and is a great time to encourage their desire to learn new words! When they ask "what's that?" for the thousandth time, tell them! Be descriptive, show them it's fun to learn and that you are proud of them for trying!
4. During a child's second year they have developed high order cognitive abilites. Your little one has learned self-awareness; they are now more aware of their own emotions and intentions!
5. The earliest messages that the brain receives have an enormous impact. Children are incredibly vulnerable; the first few years of their lives have a huge impact on their future achievements, success, and overall happiness.
6. Babies have an inborn drive for mastery. Dropping their spoon over and over again isn't to annoy you, it's to make sure that every time that spoon hits the floor it will make the same clank! These moments have an enormous impact on a child's development. It is crucial that they grow in a environment that supports a child's freedom to learn!
7. Children often mistaked as "not being able to pay attention" are usually the exact opposite. In reality they have trouble NOT paying attention. Everything sparks their curiousity, from the sight of an ant crawling by, to the sound of a dog barking. They aren't distracted, they are intrigued! Support their space to learn and you'll be amazed at what they will accomplish!
8. Children with high self-esteem who feel supported, are more willing to try and fail. When you allow your child to figure things out for themselves, or encourage them to try something that seems beyond their capabilities, you are building a supportive environment that teaches them to reach for the stars!
9. If babies feel a sense of belonging, or roots to a community, they are more willing to take risks and explore. When a child knows they have a safe enviornment to which they belong, they will be more adept to branch out and test their capabilites. The support they feel in their early years will influence what they expect from the world in the years to come!
10. If a child doesn't have someone engaging with them, pathways in the brain will permanently disintegrate. Just like a house can't stand without a sturdy frame, a child is unlikely to thrive without a supportive background. Children who come from a loving and supportive background are more likely to stay in school, become productive adults, and lead healthier lifestyles.
11. PLAY is the most MAJOR motivator to learn. Helping children learn and thrive doesn't mean buying all the latest gadgets or toys, often children learn the best with household objects that encourage their imagination and creativity. Making everything into a game or a song isn't "catering" to your child, it's helping them learn through their most powerful means to do so! No one finds brushing their teeth fun, but if you make a song and dance to go with it, they have a blast! Teeth brushing becomes a fun ritual they enjoy, and all the while teaches them good habits!
12. Children develop their sense of trust and attachment very early in life. Nuturing a child in their early years is the most critical. Without someone to trust or attach to, a child will suffer permanent psychological damage. The foundation of their entire life is based upon how they are treated as infants!
13. By the age of three, a child's brain is twice as active as those of adults. Old ways of thinking told us children's early years barely mattered and that their childhood experiences would have a limited affect on their adult lives. Now we know that a child's brain is a magnificent resource with an umlimited amount of potential, requiring love, attention and encouragement.
14. Babies are ALWAYS listening. We all know babies can hear, even before birth; something we didn't know until recently is that, every single word you say infront of your child is being sorted and filed into compartments in their brain. Their brain, moving at rapid speed, is sorting and filing every word that comes out of your mouth. Makes you think twice about some of the things you've said eh? lol... dido!
15. Babies are connected to your emotions. They have a deep connection to those they spend most of their time with, especially mum (given she carried the baby). Your child can sense your mood and will often imitate it. When emotions are running high, or tension is in the atmosphere, your child can sense this and often follows suit! Something to keep in mind - as hard as the "poker face" practice is!
Your child's first three years are a window of opportunity for you! An opportunity to make sure they have a strong foundation to build on; an opportunity to give them roots and a sense of belonging. A very small window that WILL shape them for THE REST of their lives. Parenting may not be easy, but loving someone should be! If you brought a baby into the world you better do everything in your power the ensure they have at the VERY least, a happy and safe environment! Their future, and ours depend on it! So love your baby, pick them up when they ask, tell them that thousandth time "what's that"... ALL they want from you, is YOU!