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The importance of imitation in early childhood


It’s said that ‘your baby is your mirror image’, as your baby learns a lot by imitating you. Imitation can be a good stimulation to enhance communication skills in your baby.

The importance of imitation in early childhood cannot be stressed enough; it is the first link between you and your baby. It assists two functions: providing an initial foundation of communication and distinguishing ‘others’.1

Babies show the utmost interest in faces and voices from the very beginning. Babies are very sensitive to voices and adjust to them easily, especially to the mother’s voice. This is the exact reason, why babies readily react by imitating the expressions of the faces and the sounds or voices. However, the main prerequisite for imitation is motivation or the wish to communicate. There are multiple games to help this process, such as hiding the face between the hands, or a tickling game.2

Imitation to develop communications skills in your baby is a two way street. By imitating your baby, you'll send an important message: what he is feeling and trying to communicate is important to you.3

Following are the tips to stimulate your baby to imitate4

Importance of Imitation in Early Childhood
Importance of Imitation in Early Childhood
  1. World Health Organization. The importance of caregiver-child interactions for the survival and healthy development of young children: A Review. Available from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42878/1/924159134X.pdf. Accessed on 26th May 2017.
  2. Methodology of Stimulating the Early Relationship between Parent (Caregiver) and Infant. Available from: http://www.godineprve.eu/Brosure/Methodology%20of%20Stimulating%20the%20Early%20Relationship%20between%20Parent%20(Caregiver)%20and%20Infant.pdf. Accessed on 26th May 2017.
  3. WebMD. Baby Talk: Communicating With Your Baby. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/infant­development­9/baby­talk?page=2. Accessed on 26th May 2017.
  4. Ingersoll B. Reciprocal Imitation Training. Available from: https://ieccwa.org/uploads/IECC2014/HANDOUTS/KEY_2720064/RITManual.pdf. Accessed on 26th May 2017.