Starting Near the Beginning
Call Me Crazy: Start Talking
Wouldn’t it be silly to wait to read to a child until she has learned to read for herself? Teachers know that the best way to help a child become a successful reader is for parents and caregivers to start reading to babies early. The same logic relates to language development. In fact, you can’t err by starting too soon.
How soon to start communicating with your baby? Begin communicating while your baby develops in the womb. Read, talk, play music, and reassure with gentle touches through Mommy’s skin. Once the baby arrives, continue talking. “Oh goodness, you need a new diaper. Let’s get you all fixed up and you will feel much better.” When baby cooperates, say, “Thank you for helping me change your diaper.” At other times, “You are letting me know you do not want to lie still for a diaper change. Thanks for telling me. I’ll do my best to hurry. Can you help?”
I know—it sounds crazy but do it anyway. Are you wasting your time? Definitely not. For certain, you will not hurt your baby by talking lovingly and positively. We do not really know when words and understanding begin to stick. Instead of waiting until you know for sure, start talking early. If you wait until you are certain she understands, you will miss important opportunities to create a foundation.
What About Pooping?
You want your baby to know that pooping is a positive activity. In fact, healthy poop is a reason to celebrate! “You did a poop! Good for you.” Look for a book called, Everybody Poops by Justine Avery. Avoid making a face, acting disgusted, or pinching your nose. Although we often hear the words, “dirty diaper,” we know that our bodies must eliminate urine and feces in order to stay healthy. Any association with being dirty or disgusting inserts a negative idea where a positive one will be more useful. Alternatives might be “Your diaper (or under-ware) is wet or is full.”
Most definitely, a baby will feel more comfortable with a dry or empty diaper. Waiting until diaper rash appears indicates waiting too long. Associate the thought of feeling comfortable with diaper changes. “You will feel so much better with a dry diaper. Let’s do this. Will you help?”