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Children imitate what they see and hear. You may not think that your baby understands what you are saying, but she does.
Her brain is growing and connecting all the time. That is why children who are spoken to in two languages from an early age are able to go back and forth between those languages.
Their brain has developed the circuitry to comprehend words from different languages without the down time of trying to translate the words.
The words please and thank you are more than casual comments. They represent respect and civility. It is heart-warming to hear young mothers reminding their children to say those words.
Children have to be reminded often because they are in the early stages of making the use of those words a habit.
We have lost much civility in our society. About 70 years ago, telephones came to homes. There was usually one phone in the home. That phone was used by everyone. An etiquette developed respecting someone else may have to use the phone.
One kept their conversation short and to the point. Also because everyone else in the room at the time could hear what you were saying you kept your voice down and did not discuss anything too personal.
In our home we taught our children to identify our residence and ask politely who was calling.
How things have changed. We now have caller ID and everyone has a cell phone.
Cell phones came on the scene so quickly that there has not been time to develop a widely accepted etiquette or a polite and courteous way to handle their use. We now live in a society that thinks the whole world should hear a conversation.
Recently, I was talking with a pediatrician who was telling me that even though they have signs in their office asking people to turn off their phones while the doctor is examining their child, people still answer phone calls.
Sometimes they speak so loudly that the doctor cannot hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Teaching our children to respect adults has also suffered a setback. We were taught as children to always address our parent’s friends as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. To this day our children still call one of my neighbors Mrs. Welch, even though they are adults.
The family is the basic unit of our society. By teaching your child the importance of courtesy and respect, you are building the foundation of our future communities.
Start early and often by using the words please and thank you with your baby and civility surely will prevail.
Katie Powers, R.N., is a board-certified lactation consultant and perinatal educator at Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Family BirthPlace. Her column appears every other week in Healthy Living in the Bradenton Herald. Contact her at email@example.com.