Mr. N smiles with encouragement and comfort from Mom
In my Wednesday morning Bible study I've been learning about being a mature person. Let me explain that further. Not being a person of advancing age. Not being a person who "acts like an adult." But learning to be a person who can return to joy when life doesn't hand out joy filled circumstances. Even when the circumstances are painful and traumatic. We read a vital book titled The Life Model: Learning to Live from the Heart that Jesus Gave You. Through this book and another workbook we learned that babies from birth to three years need to be with people who love them, who look in their faces and affirm them, who value them for who they are, who help them to return to joy when they are sad, shamed, fearful, hurt or wounded. Each time we help them return to joy we are building in them the capacity to learn to do that themselves. Each time they build capacity their brain actually signals their body to act differently, to calm, to center, to relax.
Let's think about this just in Baby Music class. Let's say that your child comes to class and finds a new circumstance--a new class member, an observer, a new classroom, one of the teachers is out for the day, etc. Baby reacts by crying, with shyness, showing insecurity in other ways. What is the best action?
- Comfort Baby by holding and talking softly
- Take Baby into the hall or just aside in the room for a moment of quiet and comfort
- Distract Baby with the music or words or activities under way at the moment
- Remember that the goal is to quiet the baby and return Baby to joy, rather than to get Baby to perform or to participate. That will come later.
- Be aware that if Baby is watching or listening, even while not participating, that he/she is learning more than you may imagine
- Arrive in time for ball rolling, a quietly centered activity.
- While playing the Songs & Lullabies CD at home, try to reproduce some of the activities, motions, words, or just talk about the other children in the class and what they like to do with those songs. Make an association for your child that brings joy. If they see that you are joyful about the class chances are better that they will be also.
- Listen to the CD yourself and try to memorize one song or rhyme each week. Repeat this often with your Baby at fun times like bathing or diapering or swinging or riding in the car. Let them know that you like the sounds of the songs and rhymes too.
- Choose one of your Baby's favorite activities at home--watching a signing times DVD, or PBS show, or bath time, or playtime--and silently "model" the motions to one of the rhymes. Criss Cross, 1-2 Tie my Shoe, Mulberry Bush actions are places to begin. Smile and let Baby know that this is FUN! Reach high and low to indicate pitches in a song. Dance. Use these times to return the Baby to joy.
Not only are you contributing to your little ones' education in music and language, but you are also building in them the capacity to withstand and endure life's hard times. Remember:
ENCOURAGEMENT IS ESSENTIAL
PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IS CRITICAL