I’m having one of those exhausted, don’t want to do anything, don’t want to spend any more time clearing up mess, don’t want to move from the sofa, days. Probably because I was up every hour again last night…. When I’m having days like this I put the washing machine on… because that keeps Lexi entertained for a little while. When she has tired of that I cosy up with her on the sofa and I just copy her. If she is in the right mood for it this she may reward me with a smile or giggle and I can continue guilt free knowing that I am providing Lexi with lots of positive stimulation.
Copying adults (and other children) is how Lexi is learning lots of different things. She watches us and then once she is ready, she has a go herself. This is still how I prefer to learn. I would much rather watch a you tube video to know how to do something than read a lengthy manual!
Babies don’t need to learn to copy us because they do it innately but we can copy them to encourage (or not copy to discourage!) certain behaviours/ skills as they emerge. There are so many other benefits listed here: http://www.intensiveinteraction.co.uk/about/the-fundamentals-of-communication/ (intensive interaction is a therapy provided to people who are in the early stages of communication development)
Lexi loves it when we copy her. It makes her want to do that certain action more and more. For example when Lexi blows raspberries most of my family will copy her and blow raspberries back. They could be doing this for ages taking turns blowing raspberries to each other having a brilliant time. I however am not such a huge fan of raspberries, as it means I am often being spat at while Lexi is eating yoghurt or porridge, so I don’t often copy her when she blows raspberries (mean mum!). The result of this is that Lexi does it a lot less with me. She may do it once or twice because she enjoys the noise and how it feels to make the sound but when I don’t respond to her she begins to lose interest and stops.
As Lexi is getting bigger I can start to copy her and then change what I do slightly to encourage her to try out a new skill. For example a while ago we were at my mother and father in-laws and Lexi was stood up holding onto a box with one hand and her other hand was up in the air. I copied her by also standing tall and reaching up with one hand. Then I changed it slightly and challenged her by putting two hands up in the air. My husband saw what I was doing and immediately copied me (love him!). To my surprise Lexi then also copied and she proudly stood for a few seconds without falling over! I was bursting with pride as she had copied me and in doing so had learnt that she could let go of the box and stay steady. It may have just been pure luck that she stayed up but I’m taking that one as an achievement 🙂
When I play with Lexi at home I also copy her play and then change it slightly to show her other ways she could play with something. Yesterday we were playing with stacking cups. Lexi was banging them on the floor. I started banging them on the floor as well and then I picked them up and started banging them together. Lexi copied me and the play had changed!