The mother-child bond has an immediate and a long-term impact on a child’s learning and behaviour. Here’s why.

Author Rajalakshmi S

Rajalakshmi Sivaramakrishnan, child psychologist and expert in Montessori training

The bond that moms and kids share is unique and irreplaceable.

The mother is present from the child’s very first moment, and the child’s first months are mostly spent interacting with her. This stage is crucial because:

– The child becomes naturally tuned to the mom’s words, gestures and moods, and naturally, a bond develops. The child picks up cues from the mom through observational learning.

– Every time the mom encourages the child in a task, the child is likely to do it better and more often, and vice versa. So, a mom isn’t just the primary caregiver, but also the first teacher.

– Also, the mom is present during most major milestones, like the child’s first word and when the child first stands up. The child therefore becomes encouraged by her presence, and her approval and appreciation give the child more confidence.

Kids are more receptive to their mothers’ body language.

In the early stages of development, the child pays more attention to non-verbal cues like body language and facial expressions. Moms generally tend to be more physically affectionate, with hugs, smiles and laughter, which children pick up on and respond to more easily. So, the more interaction there is, the better a child will learn. A mother’s presence also contributes to a child’s emotional growth.

Moms can complement what’s being taught in school

Even if the teacher at the playschool is doing a great job, the onus of emotional bonding lies with the parents, since they are the main source of warmth and affection for the child. Emotional wellbeing also helps the child enjoy the learning process, because it makes him feel loved and secure. A happy child always learns better.

With countless things to juggle these days, moms feel they should make learning time count.

With multiple professional and personal commitments, moms often feel pressured to make the time they spend with their children productive. However, when you make your time together result-oriented, the child feels it is a test and doesn’t fully enjoy the activity. And when that happens, learning suffers as well. Instead, just enjoy each other’s company, relax and have fun. Even the learning activities you do together should be playful and spontaneous. In such an atmosphere, learning will happen naturally.

Interaction, not just companionship, is important.

– It’s not about sitting next to your child and working on your laptop while he plays. Doing chores together, playing, gardening, telling stories or solving a puzzle all count, as they help with bonding and make the child feel important.

– Games like ‘I Spy’ are great language builders and help with understanding phonic sounds.The conversation that occurs during this time also helps the child’s language development and counts as learning.

Kids’ learning games, such as ones that teach kids to read, can help boost both learning and bonding; but it’s important to remember that they will only be effective if they’re enjoyed.

Moms should be encouraging, not pushy.

– Don’t test the child; keep the interaction unstructured. The purpose of learning activities for kids should be enjoyment. It doesn’t even have to occur at a fixed place and time. It could be as simple as pointing out objects in a supermarket.

– It also helps to come down to the child’s level of seeing the world, so that it is more imaginative, and kids don’t feel overwhelmed by an adult’s perspective. The child then feels like he’s learning and growing together with the mom.

– Writing is usually the biggest source of anxiety for moms, but the truth is, some children write early and others need more time because it all depends on the development of motor skills. A good grip develops only between 3.5-4 years. Putting pressure on a child leads to a lack of confidence and impedes their ability to write. If they feel anxious about writing, they’re less likely to do it, leading to added pressure at home and school. It’s best to wait till the natural age for writing.

Moms can encourage learning through daily habits and activities.

Gamify learning activities to make them more fun.

Allow kids to interact with other children, because they learn through observation. This also builds their social skills, especially if they are in a mixed group of children who are two years older and younger.

Help children become independent. Often, as moms, we tend to be overprotective. Giving them small responsibilities at home, letting them eat food and brush their teeth on their own, put shoes on, and fold their handkerchief help them have a better sense of self. If moms are able to encourage this at an early age, everything else will fall into place.

3-5 years is when language and memory develop.

– Language is the foundation of every area of learning, and moms are essential to this process since they’re present from Day 1.

– Each kind of development has a sensitive period, and for language skills, it’s between 3-5 years. Language begins with a sensitivity to sound. Between 1-1.5 years, children absorb words by listening, and are building their vocabulary. It’s the first step in phonemic awareness.

– There’s a magnetic attraction towards human sounds and words, and the ones that the child hears most often are the mom’s.

– Between 2.5 to 3.5 years, preschoolers start putting these words together as broken sentences. They’re eager to use these words and curious to learn more, which is why they start asking parents frequent questions – “What is this?” “Where are we going?” They also tend to repeat words over and over, so as to memorise and add them to their vocabulary.

– Between 3-5 years, kids verbalise their inquisitiveness. At this stage, moms should be patient and highly engaged, taking the time to answer their questions and teach them new words. A mom’s affection and attention can boost learning by making a child feel loved and encouraged. They create the perfect conditions for learning.

– This is also the age for memory development. That’s why kids like to always hear the same story, even if they know it by heart. That’s how they form patterns in their minds.

Language is fundamental to the development of other skills.

– Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, said language and cognitive development go hand-in-hand. Language is the manifestation of cognitive development. It’s the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings.

– For anything to be taught, one needs a medium of instruction.

– Language is essential for the development of social skills, since communication helps children form relationships with their peers. The inability to communicate makes children aggressive or shy.

Cuweeosity is enjoyed by both moms and kids.

– The best educational games or learning activities are unstructured and fun. Cuweeosity’s learning tools for kids put bonding at the forefront, which has been scientifically proven to make kids better and more confident learners.

– There’s so much scope for interactivity. In PuppetPhonics, for example, there’s storytelling as well as room for innovation and creativity. Remember, telling stories helps with listening skills. It helps kids automatically pick up new sounds and words, react to expressions, and create a sequence or memory pattern in their minds. It’s very free-flowing, and the lack of structured learning makes the child more receptive. Plus, kids love the activity of feeding the puppet monsters and love playing the game over and over again.

– PicassoPhonics, meanwhile, appeals to the child’s love for visuals. Kids are primarily visual and tactile learners, so colours and shapes are a very engaging way to teach phonic sounds to preschoolers. Colouring is also the first step to getting a proper grip, so this learning activity also improves their motor skills.

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