Babies learn thorough imitation. Take advantage of this and use his copycat instincts to encourage the desired behaviour.
Your relationship with your child is his first and most significant, and it will create the basis for the relationships he will make with others in the future.
As your baby grows, your influence on him will become more obvious.
By giving your baby lots of positive attention; he learns to value himself, by reading to him, teaching him healthy habits, and treating him with care and love, he will be better equipped to form positive relationships with other people and develop healthy habits in adulthood.
Modelling this behaviour in your own life is equally important.
- Take time to read yourself, and your child will notice and view reading as a positive activity.
- Spend lots of time in front of the television or computer, and your child will learn that this is an acceptable way to pass time.
- Pay close attention to the words you use and how you speak. Even as an baby, your child is influenced tremendously by what you say-and they will pick up on negative words and sometimes on those words you wish you had not said aloud (You know the ones I mean!).
- Talk to you child about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you feel. This teaches your child to process and understand actions, and to learn about emotions.
Helping with Developmental milestones
- Talk lots, even if he is too young to understand everything you are saying yet. Explain your actions out loud as you do them, whether it’s changing a nappy or hanging up the washing. A running commentary of your day will help your child to learn patterns of language and increase his vocabulary. Your child loves the sound of your voice. The words and the tone stimulate his thinking skills, and soon he will be able to process and understand what you are saying.
- By around 12 months, your baby should try to copy what he sees others doing. From the tone of your voice, to the foods you eat, to how you brush your teeth, your baby will try to imitate everything you do.
If you take care of yourself, your child will learn to do the same.
If your child learns the importance of healthy food, physical activity, and taking time to sleep and relax at an early age, she is more likely to continue these habits into adulthood.