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Baby's First Teacher
by Jeri CarrWhether or not she feels ready for the job, a mother is her baby's first teacher. But she doesn't need to worry about making lesson plans, offering the right educational toys or electronic gadgets, showing her baby flashcards, or making sure her baby has access to the latest baby video. The learning process is a natural one, and a mother is uniquely equipped to give her little one the very best education money can't buy.
A baby begins learning from his mother even while in her womb. He hears her voice in the womb, as well as the voices of others nearby. Sunshine on her tummy brightens his world. He hears music and singing, and yelling. He feels the effects of her sadness, anger, and happiness.
After his birth, a baby learns much about communication by his mother's responsiveness to his cries, his main form of communication. As she watches and learns his cues--his squirms, his funny faces, his whimpers--and responsively meets his needs accordingly, their level of communication goes up and their relationship blossoms.
He feels calmed when she holds him close, and he feels secure when he sleeps next to her. Her gentle touch helps him relax. He loves the way she smells. As he nurses, sweet, warm milk fills his tummy and makes him feel good inside.
He enjoys being involved in her daily activities, quietly observing from an infant seat placed nearby his mommy or contentedly worn in a pouch on her chest. This helps him learn a lot about his environment and about relationships. He enjoys it when she talks to him. Though he doesn't understand the words yet, he remembers her voice from when he lived in her womb, and its gentle tones make him feel warm and peaceful inside.
They begin to know each other very well. His mother begins anticipating his needs and the deep bond of trust that is growing between them will, as he grows older, help him learn to wait and to put others first, and to feel empathy. Through their loving interaction he learns that he matters, that someone cares deeply for him. This sets the stage for all his future relationships with other people.
The loving, peaceful atmosphere a mother creates for her baby, her responsiveness to his cues, their almost constant interaction--spoken and unspoken--provide a rich learning environment for her child. Her arms, her voice, her touch, all that a mother is and does, help her child to learn about life, love, trust, communicating, and relating to others. Hers is an awesome responsibility which can give blessings which are immeasurable.
This article was first published on Suite101.com.
Copyright 1997-2015 by Gentle Christian Mothers™
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.