The Power if Imitation

Watching and imitating is how we all learn and it begins during infancy. By now, you and your baby have been building a positive relationship and bonding through lots of face-to-face time, watching each other and sharing plenty of smiles, facial expressions and conversations. You may not realize it but this is how your baby learns, by watching you and doing what you do, or saying what you say.


Imitation is a big part of learning. The ability to observe and imitate is how we learn to do almost everything in life!  Between the ages 12 and 18 months, your baby is learning to play, walk, talk, and be social. All of these skills are learned through watching and imitating the behavior of those whom they love and! 

Brain Science for Your Baby


Babies are the ultimate people-watchers.  And they are good imitators - even early!  Watch this video: That is an example of the "serve and return" interaction that is not only a lot of fun - but that builds connections between neurons.  Your baby can make 700 new neural connections per second.  So spend lots of time playing - it's not just fun, it's actually brain building.   


Babies are picky about who they imitate

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
  • Start with the basics: try making faces, clapping hands, waving bye-bye, blowing kisses or shrugging shoulders. Your baby will also enjoy imitation during games that involve music, singing and body movements. Play games like "SO BIG", "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" or "Ring around the Rosy"
  • Praise your baby for trying to imitate you, even if they don't get it exactly right the first time, keep encouraging them until they can do it! Giving them lots of praise will increase the likelihood that they will try again!

A baby Buffer Prescription for You        

  • Children ages 12-18 months are loads of fun but they can be very active and require constant supervision. This can be exhausting and at times a bit overwhelming.  Be sure to reach out to your BB supports (e.g., partner, spouse, family member or friend) when you need a break.  

  • Talk about your feelings with your parenting team, and keep a journal to express them. Expressing yourself will help you reflect on the experiences you are having...and help free your mind to focus on your baby...your #1 priority!

What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your one year old will be able to imitate what you do in his or her play!  Give her a dust rag and let her dust furniture, pots and pans with a spoon so that he or she can "cook", and your baby will be able to start practicing brushing teeth and doing other self care activities.  

Baby Buffer Blog
Barbara Unell
Barbara Unell


Catching your child "being good" means telling your child that you like his good behavior, such as sharing,telling the truth, saying he's sorry for doing something wrong, and treating others kindly. The more times you do this every day, the more your child will behave nicely every day! 


My husband learned this lesson quickly. When our twins behaved nicely as toddlers, he found himself ignoring them. He had never heard his parents give him attention for behaving nicely. And he didn't do so with his own children, either.

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