If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked “why don’t you write a book?” in the last twenty years, I’d be a very wealthy woman!! It’s because I prefer the hands on, one-to-one approach of home visits: I love visiting families, and I enjoy seeing that I can make a positive difference to their situation.
That said, there are certain “constants” that apply to almost every baby and child. I’m happy to share some of them here.
Firstly: babies and young children learn through repetition.
No matter what you do, if you do it regularly, your child will expect it as normal. Keep in mind that, from their perspective, it’s been done this way all their life. So, for example, if you always play a CD of Brahms lullabies when you put your infant to bed, then they will come to associate hearing that music with going to bed and going to sleep. Likewise, if you stand on your head in the middle of the backyard and whistle “La Marsellaise” when you breastfeed, your baby will also learn to expect this circumstance at feed time!
The point is, you need to be consistent and persistent with whatever you do. Because littlies learn through repetition. Babies and toddlers can’t tell the time: they learn to predict their day through the regular circumstances that occur throughout their day, and they build a feeling of security based on this “knowledge of routine”. So if you check the mailbox at 10am every day with Mister Three, he’s going to expect it. If you read three stories to Miss Two before bed every night, she’s going to expect it. If you change Miss Seven Month’s nappy and play peek a boo between sides at every breastfeed, she’s going to expect it.
Take some time to look at what you do, and how you do it, especially in any area where you’re having problems. What are you teaching your child, through repetition?
…to be continued…