“Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery.” (Proverb)
Let’s be honest, we all hope that our children inherit the parts we love about ourselves and fulfills at least some of our aspirations. In fact, one way to ensure or immortality is to live on through the lives of others, and who better to see ourselves reflected back than through our children?
As a new parent we anxiously await for the moments when we can teach our children what we know and nothing is more satisfying than to see our child imitate our actions, especially when they’ve learned it and can do it more than once.
It starts with imitation, as they imitate our smile, our hand-eye coordination and our words.
How often do you hear parents say to their children: “Can you say _____?”, “Now do this”, “Now try again”, “Here, do it like mommy,” “No, not like that.” Introducing children to new sensations, new experiences, and behaviours is critical to their growth and development and imitation is the foundation of learning. Even through a process of imitation, we eventually modify what we learn and go on to develop new ways of thinking and doing.
As you continue to encourage your child to imitate you and your lessons I also invite you to take opportunities to imitate your child. Imitating your child can begin on day one. In fact, you are probably already doing it and not even aware of it. One common way to imitate your child is to mirror back the facial movements they are making towards you. They smile, you smile; they frown, you frown; they throw the ball, you throw the ball. This process does wonderful things for the neural connections within the brain as well as gives the growing mind even the tiniest experience that their behaviour can influence “the world” (others), especially if this response happens consistently.
Our children have so much to teach us and imitation remains a foundation for learning about them as it does a foundation for them to learn about us.