What Toddlers Learn by Imitating You

Teaching Your 16 Months Old The Significance of Mimicking

Do you know why mimicking is important for toddlers? Apart from being a major development milestone, it’s also a sign that your child has learned to observe people, all on his own. Mimicking also propels a child toward learning social skills.

Your toddler learns quite a lot by imitating you- in fact, this is a major development milestone where they learn without being taught or told! Whether it’s imitating the way you brush your hair and cook, or making your hubby giggle by replicating his trademark “breakfast-is-ready” call, you surely love it all. But then, do you wonder if mimicking others is the right way to go?

1. The Significance of Mimicking for Toddlers

Imitation for kids is a lot more than a mere copycat thrill. By copying adults in their initial years of growth, toddlers learn a variety of skills ranging from language to social abilities. It improves upon their observation and analytical powers too.

A 16-month-old toddler mimicking behaviour shows growing motor and cognitive abilities. As children in this age bracket have simple hand-eye coordination and are usually mobile, they are self-driven for imitation. Mimicry creates an instant connection between parents and child and leads to impressive one-to-one bonding too.

2. What Do Toddlers Learn by Imitating You?

There’s a lot that toddlers pick up from the way you move around the house, talk to someone on the phone and stretch on the yoga mat, for instance. This development milestone makes kids imitate objects and people in their immediate environment, thereby helping them grow and learn to do things. The older your child grows, the more details he can imitate with accuracy, which is a sign of his developing motor skills.

3. Is your Toddler Copying you or your Spouse?

Girls often model their moms while boys look up to their fathers for mimicking inspiration. However, it may be the other way around too and this is fine. Someday, you may see your 16-month-old daughter applying shaving lotion or your son applying lipstick! There’s no need to correct the behaviour as they’re just doing what they see.

4. Why This is a Stepping-stone to Independence

By copying the deeds of others around them, kids love the strong feeling of being in control. The fact that they can copy the smallest deeds of elders makes them more confident and bolder. Be it taking off shoes like his grandpa or climbing the couch like his older sister, there are plenty of things that’ll make your toddler eager to imitate.

When your little shadow tries to be you, you need to play along with loads of excitement. Show him family albums and videos, encourage his mimicry skills by inviting him to cook…there really is a world of opportunity out there! Remember this thumb-rule: whatever is imitated is learned and adds to your child’s development in multiple ways.

However, since toddlers absorb information at a very fast rate, make sure you give something worthwhile to imitate. Just as how they pick up the good stuff, they’re equally able to mimic bad habits. It’s vital that you and everyone in the family take care to encourage your child to imitate good behaviour.

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