When a child comes into your life, you make plans, including how to teach the child according to your own ways. But lo and behold, it is the child who teaches you things beyond your expectations.
But we can try.
We can do our best.
There are many things that our children can teach us. And a few of these are:
1. That kids learn from our actions/ examples
When a child comes into the world, it seems they already bring their own personalities. And what you can at least do is guide until they reach their own ultimate potential. And guiding at that is no feeble task, not for the faint-hearted.
How to guide them? Through your examples at best.
Every day, every hour you spend with your child is a form of education. The moment they are born, you begin your life as a mother and a teacher.
They are always looking at you. They look up to you for support and affirmation of their attempts. They use your actions and examples as their reference point on how to navigate life.
2. If you want to teach them, do it in a playful way
Whether it’s teaching alphabets or teaching how to count, children learn quickly if done in a playful way. Lots of hugs, lot of reassurance, and lots of laughs.
Putting it out there in black and white, one plus one, and coldly sounding letter ‘A’ could work. But it wouldn’t make sense to them. It makes more sense to them that one apple plus one apple equals two. It makes learning fun and adhesive to them if taught that the phonics of letter A is opening your mouth wide open you’re about to bite an apple, ah, ah, apple.
3. They learn about reading by first understanding phonics
With my firstborn, we had a long time loving the alphabets and the ABC song. When I read the book Teach you Child How to Read in 100 Easy lessons, I learned that I should have focused more on the phonics!
Children are very eager to learn. They are craving for knowledge. They want to make sense of the world they’re living in. And certainly, they want to understand the symbols written on signs, books, and on their favorite toys.
Learning how to read is not an overnight success. It is a lifelong process that even reaches even unto adulthood.
The first step is to teach them phonics and making sounds out of each letters, just as their favorite animals have their own sounds.
4. If you want to teach them about Jesus and Mary, lead them to baby Jesus
Young children relate better with those of their same age. And this is no different when it comes to teaching them about religion.
Of all God’s mysteries, here’s a beautiful mystery that reaches to the simplicity of our mind and hearts. Jesus came into the world as a helpless little newborn because He wants to stoop down to our level.
He wants to start in this world just as we all did.
And what a wonderful way is it that through this, we can point our kids to the little Babe in the manger. He stoops down even to little kids.
You can teach your kids that the baby Jesus was born in a manger and compare that to your child’s birth place.
You can lead your child’s little sufferings to our Saviour’s poverty and humble life in Nazareth.
You can show them how the Blessed Virgin Mary took care of baby Jesus through your own mother and child dynamics. And just as baby Jesus clinged to Mother Mary in his young helpless days, they too can cling on to Mary whenever their own mom is not showing good examples to them.
Having this knowledge, they can learn to love and follow Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Instil these in their young tender minds, and they will bring these unto adulthood.
5. They see you as the center of their universe
At the very young age, their whole world revolves around you.
From feeding to sleeping, from learning ABC’s to managing their pain, they depend on you.
They need you. They look up to you. They love you. You are the center of their everything
Take advantage of this.
By teaching them values that you want deeply rooted in their person.
You want them to become responsible, compassionate, and well-rounded adults? Start it today while they still wrap their arms around you with all their might.
You want them to be doctors, religious, soldiers, or creative? Expose them to various kinds of books and environment until they figure out on their own their personal ambitions.
Be subtle. Provide guidance. Do NOT tell them that they should ONLY be like this and that.
6. They love when you read books to them
Children love stories. Stories about fairy tales. Stories about their own day. Stories about Jesus!
It is up to you on how to arouse in them a love for reading. The most effective way to do this is to buy various kinds of books with wholesome and meaningful content. And then, read to them aloud!
For the most part, it is not the story itself that excites them. It is the experience of sitting on mommy’s lap and resting on her warm bosom that makes a precious memory on their tender minds. it is the feeling of security that opens up their mind to the colorful characters and plots in the storybooks.
When faced with what to do with little tots during that boring afternoons, read to them
And before you know it, they are picking up books themselves and reading to you.
7. They learn to talk from you
According to child experts, children talk earlier when they are constantly being talked to. They learn language from the people around them.
Talk to them as if they’re mini-adult versions of you. Do not baby talk.
Talk with so much sweetness and caressing.
Whether you’re in the grocery store or in a dinosaur museum, talk to them and share the experience together.
Talk tough if being told between right and wrong.
Talk slowly if you need to apologize to them.
Every conversation we have with our children carries along specific emotions where they learn the power of words. It can either make you happy or make you cry.
8. They don’t care if you’re not a perfect parent
Seeking Christian perfection as a mother is not trying to perfect every meal or manage time for optimum productivity. Between Martha and Mary, Jesus said that Mary choose the best part.
And nowadays, how tough it is to be a parent. Mothers are expected to have perfect homes, perfect meals, perfect careers, and perfect parenting skills.
If you choose to stay home and raise your kids yourself, the pressure to ‘contribute to society’ is also intense.
All these expectations and pressure can drain your mental reserve and lead to a breaking point. And in what form does it overflow in your relationships?
By easily losing patience which leads to marital fights.
By trying to make your children perfect as well which leads to frustrations both for you and the child.
By compromising on your own values and sticking to what society says you should do.
By burying you maternal instinct because some recent study shows that leaving a newborn to cry all night long is perfectly fine.
And who is at the end of the string of all these mishaps? The children.
But apparently, they don’t care if you’re not perfect. They don’t care if you’re not the smartest human being in the world. They don’t care if they live in an old apartment with few mouse holes. They don’t care if their bottle is not engineered in the world’s most recent technology.
But they care so much that you’re happy. They are very sensitive to our attitudes and dispositions. That’s why they know when you’re happy and when you’re not. Because it overflows to how you interact with them.
We can try to give them the best of everything. The first on the list should be ‘the best version of yourself.’
Give that to them. They deserve that.