As a first time mum, there were a variety of practices and behaviours that were used on a trial and error basis for the upbringing of my first child. I have been able to reflect on decisions that were made and determine the things that I plan to do differently when I have another child and those that I intend to repeat. So, here are a few things that have had a positive impact on my daughter Hanaan which I will definitely be repeating with my future children:
- Read, Read, Read – We all know the importance of reading to children; research has proved it time and time again. So, I won’t talk about that. Instead, I will talk about some of the impact reading has had on Hanaan. I started reading out loud to Hanaan during pregnancy and have continued ever since. We read during the day but it is also a part of our bedtime routine. Hanaan loves to read and now at almost 3 years old, she willingly picks up books to read (she can’t read yet but she knows the stories and uses the pictures to ascertain what is happening in the story). She uses words that she has picked up from books when speaking, words that I’d never use when speaking to her. Reading books has encouraged her sense of curiosity whilst also allowing me to develop her comprehension skills implicitly. Whilst we read, Hanaan asks different questions about the characters in the books. Sometimes, I answer the questions and sometimes I refer the questions back to her and allow her to answer them. Aswell as this, reading has expanded her understanding of the world beyond our little family. She is exposed to different context and themes such as friendship, culture, religion through the different texts that we read.
- Speak in full sentences – If you want your children to talk in the best way possible, ditch baby talk from the beginning and speak to them in grammatically accurate sentences. Children are like sponges and will pick up on the things that you say. This will also make a massive difference when they start to write too! Children tend to write the way they speak and it can be difficult to reteach proper English when they are already accustomed to speaking in certain ways. Hanaan generally speaks in full sentences because I have always made a conscious effort to speak to her in full sentences. Recently, I noticed she has been saying things like ‘cos’ rather than ‘because’. Of course, this is because I began to say ‘cos’ so I am trying to reteach her to say ‘because’ by saying the full word every time I speak to her.
- Model the culture you want to create in your home – As I said earlier, children pick up everything around them. So, it is quite important that you model the behaviour that you want to see in them. Rather than telling them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or ‘Bismillah’ before they eat, model saying these phrases in the right contexts from an early age. This not only teaches them to say the phrases but it also teaches them how to use them in the right context and it becomes a part of them. These are some of the phrases that Hanaan and I use regularly; Alhamdulillah when she sneezes, Bismillah before eating, Alhamdulillah after eating, Saying ‘sorry’ when we do something wrong or something that hurts another person, please and thank you e.t.c
- Speak positively – It is so important to speak positively to your children. Your voice becomes their inner voice and they will begin to repeat the words that you say to them thus increasing their self worth and self confidence. It also teaches them how to speak to you and others in a way that is kind and respectful. Personally, I also found that Hanaan responds to positive language. She listens a lot more when I tell her how amazing she is rather than telling her about the negative behaviour she may be displaying in that moment.
P.S This post is quite different to my usual content. Would you like to see more of these posts? Let me know in the comment section.
Till next time,