The science behind deferred imitation

Deferred imitation is typically defined as a modeled action or series of actions that are reproduced after a certain delay.

The beauty behind deferred imitation is that it can give us a tremendous amount of insight into our little one’s development. It symbolizes an underlying complex cognitive process. It has been theorized, that imitation may also be an important channel for early social learning. It seems that observation has a great effect on skill acquisition and, in some cases, even more so than conditioning or trial and error.

When your baby is be able to imitate what he saw you do a day or a week before, he shows that he has acquired the ability to retain the information, recall it, and reproduce it without a guide later on. Closing a flap, pushing a button, or shaking an object after seeing an adult do so a while ago are simple acts that demonstrate a cognitive task, as well as physical one. Deferred imitation taps more into “recalling” abilities than recognition per se. Your baby must do something more than simply discriminate between a familiar and an unknown object, he must use his motor skills to reproduce the act he saw earlier.

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Finger dexterity: Developing the pincer grasp

Since birth, your baby began developing and fulfilling an incredible amount of skills that allow him to interact with his surroundings. As a parent, it is amazing to see how our babies meet these challenges with eagerness and joy!

One of the great milestones that your baby will fulfill during his first year of life is the pincer grasp. This milestone is fundamental for his development and involves grabbing small objects with the index and thumb. Achieving this skill is not easy, since it requires a lot of practice. This finger dexterity milestone will begin to develop around the eighth or ninth month of your baby’s life. At first, you’ll see him use this type of grasp clumsily, but little by little the movement will become more precise.

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The best way to read with your 2-year-old

Including reading time in your daily routine not only boosts your kid’s language development, but it provides special one-on-one quality time that strengthens the bond between you two.

Depending on your child’s age, you can focus on different aspects of the reading experience to get the most out of it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a literacy toolkit that includes great tips for parents and caregivers who wish to make the most out of reading time! This article will summarize a few key points about reading with a 2-year-old throughout two stages: 24-29 months and 30-35 months. Within each age range, you’ll find examples of what your child can do and what you can do to maximize the reading experience!

24 to 29 months old

Your child can: At this age, your little one can choose a book to read together –it might be the same one over and over again! She’ll probably be able to repeat a few words and phrases you say while reading, and love to laugh at silly stories and pictures. Your child might be curious and ask simple questions about the book, like “What’s that?”.

You can: Find a quiet, cozy place to cuddle up and read together. This is a great way to calm and comfort your little one. While reading, pay attention to her cues and respond with excitement. If she says an important word like “dog”, you can say “Yes, that’s a dog! The dog is playing outside”. Read joyfully, using different tones of voice for each character. You can even count the objects in the pictures, and wait for your little one to repeat after you. Continue reading

The science behind baby-talk: More than a guilty pleasure!

Why is it that adults become all of a sudden fluent in “motherese” when there’s a baby in the proximity?

When you find yourself in the company of young children, be it your kids, a friend’s, or just the cute baby in her mother’s arms that you crossed at the coffee shop, chances are you have experienced that automatic and hard to ignore temptation to engage in the caricaturized “baby-talk” with them. What has science got to say about this phenomenon? And beyond its cuteness, is it actually beneficial for your baby’s linguistic and socio-emotional development?

When adults talk to babies and pre-linguistic infants, no matter what part of the world they are in or what language they use (anthropologists have found it in native communities from Sri Lanka to Siberia), their speech gravitates towards using some particular features of what is formally known as “infant-directed speech”. This form of addressing infants is characterized by being an emotionally-charged and melodic tone with a higher pitch than usual. Vowels are stretched out, sentences are simplified, and facial gestures and emotional intonation are stressed. These characteristics of baby-talk are particularly emphasized by adults when they are addressing very young babies and naturally decreases as children grow and their language skills develop. Continue reading

Making the switch

Why is it a big deal to let go of the bottle and finally welcome the sippy cup?

Just like with any other toy or object, it’s likely that your little one has gotten used to and attached to the bottle. Although it seems to be a simple transition, it can represent a huge deal for your baby. Staying on the bottle for a long time has detrimental effects on your baby’s teeth and produces cavities, so plan ahead and begin gradually introducing the sippy cup.

Studies suggest that you’ll have an easier time doing this change if you start before your little one has reached the age of 1. As a parent, you’re your child’s best judge of character and as such you’ll know when the time is right. Plan accordingly so that no mayor stressful events pile up with this, such as the birth of a new sibling or a big move. Continue reading