A Child’s First Teacher

My daughter Sofia, as some of you already know, is 8 months old. Soon to be 9. I’d say she’s your typical baby, but I’d be lying because there is no such thing! Truth is though, she’s amazing and developing her own personality everyday. She’s being raised bi-lingual, so I–and the rest of my family speak to her in English, whereas my wife and her’s speak to her in Spanish (upcoming post!). What that means is that even though she is beginning to understand what we’re saying, she has trouble communicating it vocally because the words aren’t all there. Which is typical when children are raised bi-lingual.

Now, I talk to my daughter like she’s a grown woman. I don’t split my sentences, I don’t use easy words when their not necessary and I definitely don’t use baby-talk! So a couple of weeks ago, when we laid on the bed and she started crawling to the edge, I didn’t say, “No, no, Sofia, nooOOooo, come here.” in a high, playful tone. I spoke to her like she’s a grown woman. I said, “Sofia, what are you doing? Now you know if you get too close to the edge you’re going to fall and hurt yourself right?” And then I wait for a response like she’s really going to answer me! I know you’re wondering if I let her fall–I do! Don’t worry though, it’s all pre-meditated, I put blankets and pillows on the floor and the drop is only about 1foot and 6inches with all the padding–it’s far enough so she gets the scare of falling, but not far enough so that she would ever get hurt. Before you call child services, just know that it only took 4 times of her doing that to know falling is not fun! So now she either wakes me up by slapping me in my face, or if I’m in the living room while she wakes up, she makes a little squeal and sits and waits for me to come get her.

My point is that I figure the words will come later, so I’m teaching her to go off of my TONE instead of what I’m actually saying–and it’s working. She knows when I’m upset, she knows when I’m serious and she knows when it’s play time. Pediatricians will tell you, that by the age of 2 a child should say 25 words. Please allow me to publicly state that if your child only says 25 words by age 2, you have to pick up the slack. My daughter is 8 months, learning two languages at the same time and can still manage to say mama, and papa. Heck, most children between now and their first year will say: mama, dada, hi, bye, and no. Don’t worry if your child can’t say those specifically, chances are they will substitute any of those for: baba, ouch, dog, or ball.

What I’m getting at is that parent’s–as you’ve read from my above example, the methods we use to teach our children may be unorthodox but in a society that is replacing cursive with typing, typing with texting, and spell-check with auto-correct, the worst thing we can do is inhibit a child’s speech. I talk to my daughter the way I do because I fall short on reading to her. I told myself over and over that I would read to her everyday and have yet to fulfill that promise longer than a day or so. With that said though, I am just biding my time. Parents–great parents, know where they fall short, know that they’re not perfect and that there’s always work to be done, that’s what makes us great parents…complacency is never an option–not when it comes to our children’s future.

As always, stay happy, stay healthy, and if you let your child fall of the bed, don’t say you got it from me! Stay blessed!

Yours Truly,

-1modestman