A lot of parents wonder if they have to raise their baby. Isn’t the baby still much too small for upbringing? And what does upbringing in babyhood actually mean? To pronounce prohibitions? Establish rules? We explain what already makes sense and how you can overtax your baby.
When do we have to raise our child? The first few months are more about satisfying baby’s needs. Photo: iStockphoto, Thinkstock
In the past, babies were given something to drink every four hours, at night they had to sleep through the night as soon as possible, and if that only happened with lots of tears, it was called “Screaming strengthens the lungs”. Then came the alternative movements of the late 60s and 70s, in which some babies and children were allowed to do everything. Today, many parents want to find a middle way and are often uncertain whether education belongs to the baby age.
Education for small babies: Don’t overstrain them
If education is understood to mean that children learn certain rules in the broadest sense and follow them, then education is certainly not yet part of the everyday life of small babies. Newborns do not yet understand the connection between cause and effect. If, for example, you want your baby to have something to drink every four hours, even if he or she is hungry beforehand, then overburden your baby, because his or her development cannot yet be understood to the extent that food will not be available again for another hour. Babies do not yet have a sense of time.
The first six months of life are therefore not about raising your baby, but about recognising his needs and satisfying them appropriately. If your child is crying now, it is not to annoy you or enforce his or her will, as may well be the case with small children, but because he or she has an urgent concern that he or she wants to share with you and that you want to resolve immediately. You don’t have to be afraid that you will spoil your baby if you read every wish from his eyes in the first months of his life. On the contrary, studies have shown that children who were always immediately comforted as small babies develop particularly good basic confidence and cry less later or calm down more quickly.
Rituals and Rhythm
Even if your baby doesn’t understand any rules in the first months of life and doesn’t need them, you can prepare your growing baby for the fact that limits and rules will belong to his later life. Rituals and a regular rhythm are a prelude to this. Just as rules will help your older child find his way in this vast, confusing world, a reasonably regular daily routine will give your little baby stability and security. For example, most babies find it easier to sleep if they are put to bed evening after evening with the same ritual. By the way, it is not so much the same time of day that counts, but the same procedure. This means that you always have to bathe first, then there is the evening meal, before the baby is finally put to bed with a lullaby.
In addition to the introduction of rituals, you can already begin with a golden rule of education in babyhood, which will run through your entire parental life: the role model effect. Live for your little baby, which will also be important to you later. Be it a considerate, respectful and loving contact with each other, be it good table manners or that you do not use swear words; your baby will absorb all this and use it later. Because what is the well-known saying: “You can raise your children as well as you want, they do everything for you”?
Bans on mobile babies
In the second half of the first year of life, you can then begin to differentiate your baby’s wishes somewhat. Some things your baby will understand if he has to be patient for a moment. You should no longer always take everything from him immediately and meet his needs, because your baby will now become increasingly independent. Although this can be frustrating for your child (and for you), it is very important for the development of your baby. After all, your baby is likely to start crawling because he or she wants something out of reach. Always give your child everything he or she wants immediately, and he or she will have no incentive to become mobile themselves.
Once your baby is mobile, it’s time for the first rules and boundaries. You will start saying “no” automatically during this time. Try to set up as few rules as possible and also limit the prohibition. Instead, make your home very childproof, because it will take quite a while until your baby has internalized the rule “Do not go to the hot stove! Until then it will probably be magically attracted to the forbidden stove and you will feel like a parrot. The fewer rules you have, the less you have to repeat yourself.
Book tips to read more:
- Should not be missing in any bookcase: “Baby Years” by Remo H. Largo, Piper Verlag
- For many good food for thought: “The competent family. New ways in education” by Jesper Juul, Beltz Verlag
- Full of practical tips for a loving upbringing from a midwife: “Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg, Goldmann Verlag