Today we had an interesting morning. I started giving my eight month old baby his breakfast. I take the spoon to his mouth and as soon as he takes the first bite, his eyes widen as he started clapping with his little hands. Look, he’s clapping! It was the first time he did that.
I had been doing positive reinforcement during meals for some time. I would clap with enthutiasm every time he took a bite in an effort to motivate him with eating. He was very attentive and smiled or laughed after I clapped. My intention was not that he would learn how to clap but to help him get accustomed to his foods.
Far beyond getting acquainted with his new foods; he learned a new skill just by observing. He observed what mom repeated and when she repeated it. After multiple repetitions, he made an association. Then, at the right moment, he was able to imitate my conduct. I didn’t even had to do my clapping. He had already learned that a clap came after a bite— so he did it.
Just eight months old.
That’s how babies and kids learn. They learn by observing and making associations. They repeat or imitate what we do even when it’s not our intention to teach them something. Even though they are just babies that still cant even speak; they are observing everything and they are learning. They are a huge receptor constantly receiving signals from the the world around them and they use this information to carve out their development, behavior and skills.
How great is the responsibility that parents have as well as any other person that spends substantial amount of time with the baby.
The enviroment that sorrounds them gives them a lot of information even when they still cannot do many of the things that we do.
It was very exciting to see my baby clap for the first time. It was even more exciting for me to discover that his capacity for learning is really high and sensitive at this moment. I consider that enough reasons to take conscience of the enviroment that we create or expose our baby to. My desire is that it’s one that enriches him with positive learning experiences that lead to growth in his development, intellectually and emotionally.