3 Ways To Encourage Your Toddler To Be More Like Mum
It’s so common for toddlers to copy what they see and, oftentimes, toddlers’ imitations can be really funny to watch, but it’s not all just for show. Of course, the more you laugh and cheer when your toddler imitates you, the more they’ll do it, but there’s actually more going on than meets the eye.
On this, we spoke to Silver Cross Dolls Pram retailers, Play Like Mum who said: “Children don’t just imitate their parents because it gets a laugh, it’s also done as a way of bonding. Mimicry instantly creates a connection between the child and the parent, so the imitation stage should be encouraged.”
“Similarly, by imitating you, your toddler is developing, learning both language and social skills, along with key aspects of personality such as self-esteem.”
With so many benefits of children pretending to be their parents through play, this behaviour should be encouraged and there are some simple ways in which you can do this.
1 . Serve and return
Serve and return is a term which psychologists use to describe the turn taking behaviour where children copy their parents in an orchestrated situation. Although this can happen from birth (such as with simple actions like a baby copying its mother poking her tongue out), it can get really exciting and creative with a toddler.
Try something simple with your toddler, such as clapping and allowing them time to clap back. You can also incorporate serve and return into other activities, such as listening to nursery rhymes and clapping at certain parts of the song.
Each time your toddler copies you, they’re laying down neurotransmitters which determine how they will develop socially as they grow.
2 . Imitate the child
Most children will imitate naturally but, in the cases where gentle encouragement is needed, such as if the child has autism, imitating them can teach them how it’s done.
It’s best to wait until your child is in a happy mood and in a quiet environment, such as under a table. Begin to imitate their movements and when they notice, imitate again.
Repeating this game over a number of days should encourage your toddler to imitate you, which is a big milestone in their lives.
3 . Give them props
Children are great copycats and you may be surprised at how well your child can do an impression their mothers, fathers, and teachers.
A way to encourage this is to provide your toddler with items which they have seen you with. If you’re a keen gardener, try providing them with a watering can; if you do a lot of ironing, try giving them a toy version of an iron and ironing board.
Pretending to be the adults in their lives is boundlessly beneficial for children for many reasons, such as developing strong language skills.
Pretend play also allows children to develop important aspects which are needed in later life, like self-esteem. A child who is pretending to be someone else will quickly realise that they can be whoever they want simply by pretending – this will do wonders for their self-esteem.
For more on how pretend play is fantastic for your child’s development, check out this really interesting article.