I am certain many of us, mothers, have read about the benefits of introducing early conversations with your little one; from developing language and communication skills to brain development – and the list goes on. Although I truly believe in the power of words, and how starting early is beneficial to my child, I could not help but wonder if there was anything I would gain from this experience.
Noticing the excitement in my kids’ eyes when they figured out how to form a sentence, I can’t help but wonder whether I will be able to keep up with their stories while giving each of them dedicated listening time. Reflecting on the past 2.5 years of motherhood, I am extremely grateful to have started early conversations… Well, early!
Here are a few reasons why; from a mother’s perspective, I encourage early conversations:
Strengthens Family Bonds
Allowing time for my little ones to explain a situation or incident while pretending to understand what they meant when they blabbed away for a few seconds; helped me build a dialog type of relationship with my kids. By practicing building conversations at such an early age, allowed us to strengthen our family bond. It reinforced the mindset within the family of ‘everyone has a voice, and every voice is valued’.
Builds Trust and Respect
The eagerness and happiness in my kids’ eyes when I give them my full and undivided attention when they come to me with a story; reassures me something must be working. Through the process of listening and building a conversation, I am gaining a better understanding of my kids’ preferences. As a result, it emphasizes how each of us knows exactly what we want regardless of the age. It reflects the importance of respecting everyone’s voice, no matter their age or size. The little things they are trusting us to tune in to and listen to, would hopefully build up to trusting us with the not-so-little things as they grow.
Tolerance and Patience
Attempting to have a conversation with an infant might feel weird at first, but relatively easy since it is mainly the adult speaking. However, as they grow and start saying actual words and sentences; that is where the true test of patience comes. Because I put in the work early on with building a conversation with my children, I trained myself to truly listen to what they are saying instead of running my own interpretation based on what I think they are saying. It allowed me to be more tolerant and patient when they have a tantrum and guide them gently on how to calm down and express what they are going through without excessive noise, cries, or frustration.
If nothing else, establishing early conversations with my children helped me to truly appreciate them as individuals. Not as my children, not based on anything I expect them to do or be because I am their mother; but truly appreciate their individuality and ability to voice their opinions so confidently and assertively. Observing them formulate sentences and express themselves, I can’t help but wonder about where their passion will take them. All the choices we make in life plays a role in shaping who we become; and I truly hope they choose what works best for them.
As I am writing this, I can only feel gratitude for having introduced dialog with my children when they were young. Reflecting back allowed me to realize how much I have grown as an individual and parent by giving space to all members of the family to express themselves and voice their opinions and preferences.