The importance of training a child from infancy Viewpoint
By: Anoops Veeren
Guyana Chronicle
March 24, 2004

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IT IS extremely important to stimulate children's minds, and even more important to instill love into their hearts from the day they were born. There is a built-in starter for this at birth. It is called bonding. The mother holds, cuddles, strokes and talks cooingly to her baby. Baby in turn, looks intently at its mother. Bonding takes place, maternal instincts are stirred, and baby feels secured. Some authorities believe that there is a sensitive period in the first few minutes and hours after the infant's birth, which is optimal for infant-parent attachment.

This is indeed a good beginning but it is only a beginning. The infant is helpless, dependent primarily on its mother for its immediate needs, both physical and emotional. Without food the baby starves. It can also starve emotionally. Cuddling, hugging, rocking, playing, loving, all stimulate the development of the brain. Without it the brain is impoverished and stunted for life. And because of this neglect it can also become hostile, delinquent and violent. Mothering is a priority for the child and or society, more important than any career in the world!.

Fathers too have a very important role to play, and they must not be excluded. If he is present at birth, the father-infant bond will begin. As the weeks and months pass, the influence of his role expands rapidly. Every child needs a mother and father, and every father can make a difference. For a baby having an actively involved father is not the same as having more mothering. With love from both parents, the child grows up to be more successful at school, to have a better sense of humour and to get along better with other children. He believes more in himself and is better motivated to learn. By the time he is six or seven, the child's IQ will be higher.

There are stages or phases in the development of infants through the years, from birth to six years; muscular co-ordination, speech, skills, emotional qualities, memory faculties, thinking abilities, conscience and others. When the infant brain is growing rapidly and these arrive in their turn that is the opportune time for training in these different abilities.

That is when the infant brain absorbs these abilities or qualities as a sponge soaks up water. At this stage if the infant is loved, it learns to love; if the infant is talked to or read to, it learns both to talk and to read; if the infant is exposed to uprightness, it absorbs right principles and if these favourable learning stages pass without proper input, these qualities and abilities will be more difficult to acquire later on.

Language is a good example of training given at the right time. Babies are genetically programmed for speech, but for such built-in brain circuitry to function at top efficiency, the infant must be exposed to speech sounds at the right stage of development. Growth in the speech centers explodes between six and twelve months if adults talk to the infant often. Between twelve and eighteen months this growth accelerates as the infant grasps that words have meanings. He is learning the words before he can speak them. During the second year of his life, his vocabulary may grow from a few words to several hundred.

It is recommended that we start reading to our infants even though they are too young to understand. With the infant in your lap, your arm around him, holding him close, he feels secured and loved. Your reading to him is a pleasant experience, and it makes an impression. He associates reading with a feeling of joy.

Babies are imitative, and parents are the role models. The child wants to copy you. He plays that he is reading. Later he experiences the true joys of reading. This brings another big benefit. He is usually no television addict. He does not sit glassy-eyed watching thousands of stabbing, shootings, murders, and rapes. He can turn the television off, he can open a book and read. Quite an accomplishment in these days of illiteracy and TV addiction!

Therefore, you must train your child from infancy, when its brain is growing fast, soaking up information for mind and heart. It is clear that the best lesson you can give our child from birth is your time and your example. Not just time to feed its body with food and clothe its back with brand name clothes, but time to fill its heart with love. And remember, you are your child's role model. He hears your words but he imitates your actions. You child is a copy cat, so whatever you want him to be, you have to be that yourself.