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(Topic:helicopter parents) How to make the most of the babyhood?

Popularity 8Viewed 7314 times 2014-1-22 01:23 |Personal category:Growing with my daughter|System category:Life| babyhood, genius, parents, early learning

In this achievement-oriented society, parents usually fall in great anxiety, anxious about whether our children will have a bright future. And some begin worrying too early even when the child is a small baby. We worry that unless they do everything right on time according to the schedule of developmental milestones, they won’t be successful as a candidate for Harvard or Oxford.

 

Do we have reasons to worry? This is a question.

 

The worry provokes a big business, the baby educational industry, especially in big cities in China. So we’ve heard about more and more flashy local baby genius classes: the classes in art, music, language- you name it, practically guaranteed to turn out our little one a prodigy. At the first glance of the advertisement on early learning, wherever you see, you may ask yourself, how could they push the little ones so intensively? However, and at the same time, seeing more and more parents sending their babies there, maybe you’re also wondering whether you should be doing the same with yours.

 

Attending this kind of classes becomes a common phenomenon in China.  A cousin of mine lives in northwestern China, and he signed up an English learning course for his daughter when she was only six months old. Grandma took her to attend the two-hour-course two times a week.  And the family needs to pay around an extra of 1000 yuan per month for the education. My friend from central China, her five-year-old daughter is occupied with kinds of training programs: playing piano, painting, and calligraphy. And the little one is the busiest in the family. One time I’d like to take her outside for fun, she replied to me, “Sorry aunty, I need to check my timetable first”. I was so shocked and felt so sorry for her at that time.

 

But is it normal? Should we rush out to sign up for the local baby genius class? We need to think over it before we do.

 

Compared to these younger generations, we are lucky enough to have a more relaxing and happy childhood, a time of period playing games with our little friends. Although some of us also started to learn reading, singing, calligraphy, English, and playing musical instruments etc., at an early age around two years, while the intensity and suffering is not as much as today.

 

My father used to be an English teacher in the secondary school, and started to introduce me a bit of English at home when I began to talk. I could recite the 26 characters and sang the complete ABC song before I was two years old. I had learned several English books for starters in my primary school, which is a very slow progress in the eyes of parents today. However, it was relatively an early learning at that time, for English teaching was from secondary school.  My husband started English learning from his secondary school.  He told me that he was lagged behind in the first one two months comparing to his classmates who had a basic knowledge of English previously, but caught up quickly then. I believe this, because he normally got good scores on this subject. Though it might be possible – and let’s face it, even a little satisfying, seeing the little one become a somewhat ‘super-baby’ after the intensive training, the majority of experts agree that there is no evidence that intense early learning actually provides a long-term advantage over more traditional learning patterns.

 

Babyhood comes with a quite a course load of its own – not just intellectual but emotional, physical and social, as well. Our baby should be spending her first year being a baby. As to how to stimulate her in the early age, and to help her reach her potential, there exist kinds of ways indeed -- not necessarily by signing her up for classes, but by standing by to offer plenty of encouragement as she tackles the ordinary tasks of infancy.

 

Nothing helps a baby grow and thrive as much as being loved, unconditionally. Every time we touch, hold, cuddle, hug, or respond to our baby with warm responsive care, we’re positively affecting the way our child’s brain forms connections. We should watch and listen to our baby carefully, and we’ll almost always know what’s the best for her.  She ‘ll develop a sense of trust in others and a high level of self-confidence if her basic needs are met in infancy and early childhood, for example, she’s fed when hungry, changed when wet, and held when frightened as son on. Furthermore, by helping to discipline our baby’s behaviors during the early years, we will eventually teach her self-control. These are all important life skills. With the solid emotional foundation provided, she will also be more capable of intellectual learning. 

 

I have been taking every opportunity to talk, sing or coo to Nicole since she was born. My younger sister always says that I treat Nicole as an adult. When I am changing a nappy for her, I tell her, ‘Now mummy is going to change your nappy’, and give her commands like ‘bottom up’, ‘turn left’, ‘turn right’ when I help her with the movements. When it’s finished and I need to dress her up, I speak to her, ’you need to dress up now. And buttons on, one, two, three…’ When giving a bath, I will sing the ‘five little ducks’ song when she is playing with her bath duck. Everything I do, I will let her know what I’m doing, like I’m talking with another person.

 

The middle of the first year is a very sociable time for most babies. They smile, laugh, squeal and communicate in a variety of other ways and are willing to share their friendliness with all comers. I tried to teach Nicole a simple greeting like ‘hi’ we when met others outside, and waving bye-bye when we took leave. Every time when she passes her toy to me, I will say ‘thank you’ to her.

 

I don’t want to hamper her ability to play, learn, and solve problems independently with too much attention on her. Therefore, she enjoys much space and freedom. She is playing by herself most of the time since her birth. And I’m just around, within the range of her sight. So she knows that mummy is always available when she needs the help. In the meantime, she gets chance to explore the world by trying in her own way.

 

This is my way to raise Nicole. Maybe I’m the best of her toys and friends in her eyes. I really don’t want to push her by forcing kinds of learning programs. Encouraging intellectual development is different from pushing it, providing stimulating experiences is different from scheduling in the kind of overload. I’m just trying my best to make her a healthy, happy and bright child, one who reaches her potential at a rate that’s personally appropriate.

 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (11 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2014-1-22 14:38
your article has  been highlighted on our homepage of the blog. Thanks for sharing here.
Reply Report liu5222512 2014-1-22 16:09
Very coherent and cogent,resonable and scietific.
You are a great mother.
And you can make it.
Reply Report Judy_Zhu 2014-1-22 16:15
Thanks all for your encouragement!
Reply Report futureyd 2014-1-23 20:02
Let Nicole be
Reply Report Judy_Zhu 2014-1-23 23:18
futureyd: Let Nicole be
Yes, really little reason to worry.
Reply Report Judy_Zhu 2014-1-24 06:12
And thanks Mr. Liu and Mr Klyer for your flowers:)
Reply Report gtn 2014-1-25 20:40
Nothing is more valuable for a baby than the love of the parents, which cannot be replaced by paid educations. Lucky baby!
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-1-28 18:55
Is it hard to bring up a kid? I'm not married. How perfect it would be for me  to have a kid.
Reply Report Judy_Zhu 2014-1-29 17:10
tedbrent: Is it hard to bring up a kid? I'm not married. How perfect it would be for me  to have a kid.
It is not that difficult as imagined. Happy New Year!
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-1-30 01:52
Ta. Happy NewYear to you.
Reply Report Funny-boy 2016-11-15 10:26
Lucky for my daughter that the raise patter like the blogger. thanks for my wife.

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