Our children are natural copycats. They display the ability to imitate and mimic the behavior of the adults around them from birth onwards. In fact, it’s being a copycat or the art of imitating that is one of their primary learning tools. They mimic our expressions. They mimic our behavior. They mimic how we say things.
How Else Do They Learn?
While there are a variety of ways your child will learn over the years, copycatting and imitating are their primary learning tools. We show them how to hold a pencil or a crayon by placing it in their hands how we hold them. We show them how to walk by demonstrating it. It’s amazing how closely they pay attention to what we are doing and what we are talking about.
When my daughter was little she used to sit in her high chair at the table while I was working on my homework for college. She would sit there and watch avidly as I wrote notes while reading my textbooks. When I gave her pieces of paper and crayons, she would start doing exactly what I was. She drew lines along the page like writing cursive. Once, she even drew a box just as I was doing to circle around some material.
Be Careful Though
Once when I was highlighting my workbook for specific problems we were given information about answering, she took a highlighter to one of her books and it’s as bad as you can imagine. The idea isn’t just to do what you are doing, it’s to do it in such a way that they communicate with you.
Their desire to communicate is so strong, that they can get frustrated and annoyed when they can’t do what they see you doing. They do their best to try and do what you are doing, but be careful not to force them to do the exact same. They are their own harshest critics. If you sit down and draw circles for them and they try and fail – don’t make a comment about it – just applaud their effort.
Refining a skill later in life is easy enough to do – for now – it’s important to give them an A for Effort and move on.
How did you help your little copycat?