If you have a baby, you are probably wondering how you can possibly imagine preparing them for school now! The idea of your baby going to school is years away. There are actually many things that you can do now to prepare your little one for school later.
Communication is a key component of any person’s development whether a child or adult. In school, children need to listen to teachers, communicate their needs and interact with other students using words to relay their thoughts, needs and feelings. As a parent, you are already seeing ways in which your baby communicates its thoughts, needs and feelings. I’m sure you can name a handful: cooing, gurgling, crying, cuddling, moving its arms and legs and looking towards you or away.
To encourage communication, quickly respond to your baby using a “sing-song” tone of voice, expressive face, and wide-open eyes. Babies love looking at faces and when you make your face interesting to look at, babies will pay attention. Babies also like hearing songs and feeling your gentle touch or tickle. Make the most of the diapering or feeding times when you are close and facing your baby!
Additionally, pay special attention to your baby’s unique style of emotion expression, activity level, and social nature. Some babies are quiet and watchful and prefer less adult interaction. Other babies are emotional, active, and seek continuous adult attention. Some babies are in between. Be sensitive to each baby’s personality and work with your baby’s preferences; this makes communication smoother for everyone!
The bottom line is – babies need to know that their efforts to communicate are heard and understood. Take time to learn how babies tell you about their thoughts, needs, and feelings. When babies experience your warmth and attention, they form a sense of trust in the world.
Few things in life come with so small a price tag and so great a reward as communicating with the babies in our lives. Children rely on adults to help them learn about themselves and to make sense of the world. Helping babies develop effective communication skills is an important tool for school and for life.
Resource source: MissouriFamilies.org