I just got back from a weekend ski trip with the family and on the flight home I sat next to a mom of 3 who is now an empty nester. I’m not sure how we got so deep into conversation, but what words of wisdom she left me with was “I wish I had played with my kids more when they were little.” We’re all so busy moving from thing to thing on our to do list and schedules, it’s true we forget to just be with our kids and just play. Her words are a great reminder to me to cherish this golden time with them no matter how busy I am or think I am.
I can’t believe my kids are 5 and 4 already. So much happens in the first few years.
From the rocking, the feeding, the diaper changes, the naps, the potty training then onto learning how to walk, talk, and read.
It’s amazing how my little babies are now little people with personalities all their own. As a parent you never know exactly what type of impact you are making on your child, but you are influencing them-through your words, your actions and interactions. It’s always when you least expect it, they will surprise you with the fact that they have been listening to you after all.
That’s why First 5 California wants to remind parents to make these years count and that helping your baby’s brain develop is simple.
The three most important things you can do are to:
TALK. READ. SING
I remember listening to music and reading to my baby when I was pregnant. In fact I have the very first book I read to my son and we continued to read it to him when he was born and it’s still on his bookshelf now.
Those moments as a new mom when it’s just you and the baby are so special. And while everyone reminds you it goes by so fast, when you are living it, it doesn’t seem that way. I was in bit of a “Mom Fog. ” I was sleep deprived and at times it felt very lonely, but reflecting back, those were the priceless memories.
I remember talking to my son all the time. At times it felt strange because how can they understand what you are saying, but hearing your voice, your intonation patterns and word sounds are so important. Good foundations of language begin right after birth. The more words they hear, the larger their vocabulary will be.
I remember going for walks and pointing things out and talking along the way. I was even conscious of the type of music I would play for my children in the car. I would leave it on the classical station. I love that now we also have access to so many children’s songs with internet radio. You don’t even need to buy specific CDs to have music that fits your mood or child’s age. Pandora is great and I love that I can load the app on my phone. My favorites are heavenly lullabies for babies, my daughter loves Disney songs and story, there’s even toddler radio. First 5 CA also has their own station.
My kids love dancing, too. When they were little I would carry them in my arms and we would rock to lullabies, and now it’s more about dance parties in the living room to “What Does The Fox Say?” It’s a little crazy, but fun.
What do you do with your kids?
Parents have the power, the power to impact children, especially during the early years.
Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain is formed in the first 5 years of life? What happens during this time not only impacts their brain development at the moment, but how they learn and grow for the rest of their life.
Children are born with almost all the neurons they will ever have. What changes is the wiring, which is based on experience and activity. By three months old baby’s brains are very active and between 4 and 9 their brain activity is actually twice as active as an adult brain. Wow!
I remember getting a new parent kit packed with information from First 5 California at the hospital. It was a great resource, but they also have a great informative site filled with support, information, free downloads and videos for parents. For more ideas, be sure to check out first5california.com/parents.
While both my kids are now almost out of the “First 5” stage, I believe in the power of my interactions even more. I continue to talk, read and sing, but now they can talk, read and sing back. Looking back on how they have grown reminds me to appreciate whatever stage they are at and that what I do today, however small shapes them into who they will be tomorrow.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of First 5 California via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.