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Watch Your Language In Front of Your Kids

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Did you happen to watch the new NBC-TV show “Up All Night?”  I must say I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I had been looking forward to this show as I love the cast!

At the same time, if you are a parent you get the title.  One thing I want to tell Christina Applegate, “up all night” does not end after the baby gets older, it really continues for at least 18 years, and even longer (hate to burst her bubble so early in parenthood).

But, an important point was made at the end of the show. Once you become a parent you have to suddenly “watch your language”. That is a really important fact of parenting and one that parents learn early on.

You know that one of the earliest milestones that your baby reaches is mimicking. Think about all of the funny faces and noises we make when playing with an infant. Then you suddenly notice that your baby is sticking their tongue out when you do, or they blow raspberries right back at you. It is such fun to watch this happening and parents make sure you try to capture those sweet moments on camera.

The next phase of development involves listening and mimicking language. All of the times that we say Da-Da-Da and Ma-Ma-Ma and then suddenly; your baby mimics language!  What a wonderful moment. Again, whip out your I-phone to record this for you will want to watch it again and again. There is nothing better.

But suddenly you realize your baby/toddler is listening to everything that you say both good AND bad. I have parents who come into my office all of the time talking about a word that their child is saying that is not appropriate.  The next question is, “where did they learn this?” Usually from us. Suddenly, their language may not be quite as cute, and that is not a milestone any parent wants to record!

Your child is listening to everything that you say, as well as any language they may hear in the background from TV or radio. The language that a young child hears needs to be “G” rated. Think of acceptable words for your child to repeat, and that is your new vocabulary. You will soon find yourself using expressions like, “shucks”, “gee whiz” or my favorite was “geezy peezy!” I do remember the words I used when I was really frustrated, angry, or at my wit’s end,  “doo-doo, poo-poo, tee-tee!”  The funny thing? My children thought I was talking about their bathroom habits during potty training!

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

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