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It’s usual to see toddlers imitating adults. But what many forget and don’t know is that there’s quite a lot going on behind their imitating action. This mimicry can help their brain and learning mechanism to develop. Find out all about toddlers and imitation and how you can help.
Imitation for toddlers is much more than just a show. It’s their way of learning language and social skills. The actions, words and behaviour that you exhibit as a parent go a long way in influencing and shaping your child’s own beliefs and behaviour. Mimicry begins at birth itself, and it usually starts out with simple things like sticking the tongue out to recreating scenes at a later age through pretend plays.
Understanding Adult Imitation by Toddlers
1. Creates a stronger bond
Imitation helps create a bond between a child and her parent. Usually, when parents see their 19-month-old toddlers imitating adults, they get excited. They cheer for her, pick her up in their arms and have a moment of healthy fun together. For many tots, the payoff of imitation is getting positive reward and encouragement for their performance.
2. Teaches new skills
There’s more to imitation than a reward. This mimicry is a multi-layered process for a toddler – observing, processing the information, attempting to copy, and performing. It extends to language and behavioural development too. A child forming a simple word like ‘mama’ is imitating the sounds she hears and is learning to find a suitable and sensible connection for it like ‘mommy’.
3. Aids healthier eating habits
While keeping a track of your child’s health milestones, you may not consider imitation an important factor, but the truth remains that it plays an important role in shaping attitudes and habits about nutrition. A child can pick up her parent’s reaction to a certain vegetable or fruit. So, this is the right time to start if you want your toddler to have healthy eating habits. Eat what you would want your child to eat, even if you don’t particularly like it.
4. Assists in forming attitudes and beliefs
Parents are primary role models and the first teachers of their children. Kids start imitating their attitudes at an early stage without understanding the reasoning behind them. A parent who’s more accepting and has positive beliefs about others will have a good impact on her child while a hateful and close-minded parent will push her child towards negativity. Imitation behaviour in a 19-month-old child is laying the foundation for acceptance and tolerance in later life.
How to help your toddler during the imitation phase
- Be a good role model and adopt positive behaviour whether it’s eating well or giving up bad habits
- Keep in mind that toddlers do not have a sense of judgment and safety, so childproof your home and make safety your top priority.
Remember that each stage of life is a new learning process and parents must help their children reach the next milestone by successfully aiding them in completing the previous one. The power rests with you, so it’s your prerogative to guide your child.