Mothers are often their children’s first teachers. Whether your child was just born or is a teenager, your work as a nurturer and educator will never end. Here’s some inspiration and ideas about educating your child for years to come.
Mothers as Teachers
Mothers are the world’s greatest teachers because they give children values and discipline. They teach children to write thank you notes, to wash their hands after using the restroom, and to not pull other children’s hair. Mothers can instill both good and bad, which is why motherhood is a challenging, awe-inspiring gift.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed teaching children values, there are books and resources for every parenting style. Another helpful exercise is looking at your own childhood: what things did your mom do that you want to emulate? What damaging things from your childhood don’t you want to carry forward? As a mother, you can break bad habits or even patterns of abuse that you experienced. You can continue old traditions or make new ones.
Early Childhood Care and Teaching
Most professionals recommend avoiding screen-time until age two, except for video chat or parent-child educational activities. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only one daily hour of screen time for children who are two to five years old.
Some ways to help children learn before preschool are to read them bedtime stories, make sure they exercise, have them interact with other children, count items out loud when interacting with them, and purchase fun yet educational toys. Websites like Scholastic.com and parents.com feature articles about childhood education and development.
Mothers as Motivators
As a mother, you are your child’s biggest cheerleader. But one complaint mothers sometimes have is the lack of motivation on their child’s part. Children all have unique needs, and it will take work to learn how to motivate your child. Here are a few techniques to consider:
● Figure out your child’s love language. According to Gary Chapman, the five love languages are words of affirmation, physical affection, gifts, quality time, and acts of service. By showing love to your child this way, you can help them feel loved, valued, and motivated.
● Help your child find intrinsic motivation. This means that your child wants to accomplish something because of something inside–self-motivation. Extrinsic motivation is motivation due to rewards. Although extrinsic motivation can be helpful sometimes, you don’t want to make it a habit because it’s counterproductive and can actually prevent intrinsic motivation.
● Celebrate successes and jobs done well. Children thrive on praise. Rewarding them for the things they do right will encourage them in the future. Every child loves to have their triumphs, big and small, acknowledged.
Mothers are Lifelong Teachers
As your child grows older, you can teach valuable life skills and morals, helping them learn about everything from love to cooking. Someday, your child will move out to go to college or embark on a career. But just because your child grows up doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need you. Many young adults want to have their parents around for support and friendship. But realize that as your child grows up, they will be independent and need you less. The key is developing a healthy adult-child relationship so that your bond can evolve and flourish. If you try to exert too much control over an adolescent that is nearing adulthood, they can feel stifled and alienated. Show them you love them and trust them, as well as respect their wishes.
If you’re feeling intimidated by motherhood, it’s helpful to find a role-model you can relate to from recent or past history. Here’s three examples:
● J.K. Rowling: The famous author of the Harry Potter series was actually a single mother taking care of a daughter and living on welfare while she was writing her famous magical book series
● Abigail Adams: The wife of President John Adams, she had to run the family farm, educate five children, and she still managed to write letters supporting women’s rights and the abolition of slavery.
● Marie Curie: This scientist was the first female to win the Nobel Peace prize, and she also raised two daughters alone because her husband had died. Her daughter said their mother taught them flexibility and hard work.
Motherhood isn’t an easy task–no one ever said it was! But motherhood is one of the most rewarding and important jobs in the world. Not only do you have a wonderful family, but you also have the chance to raise beautiful, strong children who can contribute to goodness in the world.