Pregnancy is a miraculous time full of wonder and dreams of the future. It is also the beginning of your baby’s life.
Advances in neuroscience and developmental psychology demonstrate that the relationship we have with our children begins far before birth and that parents can have a direct impact on the positive development of their unborn children.
Dr. Thomas Verny, psychiatrist and author of the book, Pre-Parenting: Nurturing Your Child from Conception, has written extensively on how to create the ideal environment for your unborn baby to learn and grow. Parents can do many things to stimulate and nurture the development of their unborn babies. But, just in case overzealous parents get a little carried away, he offers this gentle reminder, “The prenatal classroom is better suited for lessons of intimacy, love, and trust than for intellectual calisthenics or IQ boosting." Here are a few practical tips for your prenatal classroom:
Take the time each day to talk with your baby. You may feel awkward at first, but remind yourself that in just a few short months, your baby won’t be inside your belly, but in your arms. The soothing sound of your voice will be very reassuring to your baby, both now and after he is born.
Do you love to write? Why not share your hopes and dreams with your child in the form of written letters? Not only is this a great bonding exercise, but someday, your child will get the opportunity to read all your letters and gain an even deeper understanding of your unconditional love and who you were before you became a parent.
Of course, we can only hope that one day our children will understand the profound devotion we feel for Sting, U2 and Duran Duran, so why not start now? OK, all kidding aside, the world of the womb is a wonderful time to introduce music to your child’s life. Whether you choose to expose your child to the golden oldies or sing favorite lullabies from your own childhood, music has an extraordinary power to connect humans to one another and can be an excellent form of prenatal communication. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Just the sound of your voice (or even a favorite recorded song) each night at bedtime is a nice ritual that can carry on from pregnancy all the way into the preschool years.
When your baby gets big enough to poke his elbows and knees against your belly, you can play your very first game together. Gently push against your belly and see if your baby pushes back. What an amazing feeling when you realize you are actually playing hide and seek with your unborn baby.
Don’t forget to get the whole family involved in bonding with your bump. If you have older children, they will love having the opportunity to connect with their new sibling before he or she arrives. In addition to all the ideas mentioned above, you can have your children massage your belly while talking to the baby, draw pictures with messages for the baby or organize a professional family photo shoot with your beautiful bump front and center.
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