Posted by: Admin | May 29, 2013

Part 1 -The power of words on your little one

In the Cree culture, silence is a good thing. Behavior and body language are considered telling of a person’s character. Silences are looked upon as good for a person’s spirit and myupmatsiuyuun. I feel very comfortable amongst my Cree friends. I feel in tune with the Cree ways, sometimes more than I do with my own culture. Like Crees, I learn from observation and I get my well-being from the positive energy of nature through the trees, rivers and lakes.

I come from a family comfortable with silence: words were scarce and idle talk was not welcome. In fact, I was told to think well before I talked. My father prized an intelligent daughter and what came out of my mouth needed to be thought through carefully before being said. It is difficult to change what we are at our most fundamental core, but I knew I needed to make some changes in myself when I had a child. I found breastfeeding helped me bond with my new baby but l also felt the need to teach her everything I knew about this world she was born into. Language became an important tool, a platform on which I could lay down the first stones to my baby’s growth.

Through reading, I found out there are critical learning periods in a baby’s life. The baby’s brain grows at a preprogrammed pace and needs to be exposed to a stimulus at exactly the right period to have this specific sense or ability developed at its best. For example, the sucking reflex is at its fullest in the first 2 hours right after birth so official recommendations ask for a baby to be placed on his mother’s chest immediately following birth to allow him to breastfeed right away. Another example is that language is best learned between the ages of 6 months and 2-3 years old. It is even possible that a child who learns 2 or more languages during that period will be able to speak those languages without any accent later on in his adult life. He can learn other languages when he is older, but will never speak them as well. Same goes for binocular (using two eyes) vision, which develops between birth and 1-2 years old and emotional control between 6 months and 2-3 years old; social skills are more easily learned later, between 3 to 5 years old.

So I started talking to my child. I talked more than I ever did before. My baby followed me everywhere I went. I first made sure she was safe and comfortable and then, went on to explain everything I did: I talked all through my shower, I explained recipes and showed her all the ingredients while describing them one by one, I explained what I was looking at or reading, etc. …by nighttime, I was all talked out! Talking to my baby became a habit that was never lost. I still talk to her a lot now that she is 8 years old even though we both really enjoy daily periods of silence and I do encourage her to learn through observation, the Cree way.

Talking to your child will stimulate overall development and strengthened the bond between the two of you. Your baby will thrive while hearing the sound of your voice and the noises of your life.

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