Not only are you feeding a child to help her body grow, but your involvement in her life helps shape her mind and personality also. So much development happens in those first years of life. Being aware of your role as a mother and how you can best cultivate that wonderful individual inside that tiny body is vital.
Children start learning as soon as they’re welcomed into this world. You may not realize it, but she’s watching you. This is how she learns about the world and how to react to it. When you show her how to laugh at surprises, gather yourself up with a smile when you fall down, and how to pick up the pieces when something breaks, you’re teaching her how to handle things constructively and positively. If you’re constantly telling her to be fearful of the world and that bad guys are everywhere, she will continue with this fearful attitude and lack the confidence to venture out into the world. Do both of you a favor and show her how to constructively deal with mistakes, forgive others, handle frustration, show kindness and share love. Don't you wish all adults you know could do that?
Attachment develops in the first few years of life, starting the moment he’s born. When a mother is nurturing and loving, the child will develop a healthy bond with not only the mother but will be willing to form new relationships with others. If the mother is aloof, depressed or neglectful, the child will have a difficult time when introduced to new people or surroundings and may lead to troubles forming healthy, strong relationships later on in life.
Mistakes are part of life, might as well accept it. If you yell, criticize or ridicule your child, she will not feel confident to venture out, try again or experience new things. Your child may end up viewing herself as a failure and unlovable. On the other hand, if you offer encouraging words and praise, regardless of success, it tells your child that she’ll be loved no matter what. She’ll be more confident in herself and have a healthy self-image.
Trust is a vital aspect of a healthy life. If you’re responsive and sensitive to the needs of your child early on in development, she will view the world as a safe place and that she’s taken care of. If the needs are not met, your child can be fearful and untrusting. She may have a hard time letting go of you when she’s dropped off at daycare or school, scream if others hold her and be slow to warm up to others in general.
Children and adults both want a sense of independence and autonomy. If you’re a mother that does everything for her child, you may think you’re doing him a favor, but ultimately you're telling your child that he can’t or doesn't need to do it himself. By letting him try things without assistance, you’re sending the signal that you believe that he can do it all by himself. By offering choices to a young child, you let him know that you believe that he’s smart enough to make his own choices and that his opinion is valued. He’s less likely to rely on others if he believes that he can do it himself. You know you’re headed in the right direction when you give him a choice between pajamas, he chooses a pair happily without a bedtime meltdown and puts them on all by himself. Praise him for it, even if they're on backwards and inside out — at least he did it himself.
- McGraw-Hill Higher Education: Psychosocial Development During the First Three Years
- Parenting with Love and Logic; Foster Cline, M.D.; et al.
- Psychological Bulletin; The Development of Anxiety: The Role of Control in the Early Environment
- Rayes/Lifesize/Getty Images