What Your Child Learns By Imitating You

Around the House

Among the actions toddlers most love to imitate are household activities, such as sweeping the floor. You'll also find 1-year-olds grooming themselves, for instance, brushing their teeth or hair when their parents do.

When your little shadow plays at being you, whatever she imitates she learns. So keep these points in mind:

  • Be a good role model. "Parents of toddlers are under constant observation," Dr. Klein says. "During this critical developmental period, it's important to model your best behavior." Whether it's eating well or giving up cigarettes, adopt positive behaviors.
  • Make safety your top priority. At 15 months, Judah's sister, Abby, mimicked me baking. While my back was turned, Abby, now 2, pulled open a hot oven door. Luckily, I caught her before she was hurt. Because toddlers have no sense of judgment, experts stress prevention. If you haven't already thoroughly childproofed your home, now is the time to do so.
  • Distract when necessary. Sometimes it's frustrating having a little imitator around, especially when she makes a mess. At 18 months, Abby loved taking my credit cards out of my wallet -- something she had seen me do many times. To keep the contents of my wallet intact, I filled an old billfold with family photos and outdated credit cards. Immediately, Abby began practicing some shopping skills that I hope she won't apply for years to come.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment