Why we learn by imitation
The imitation It is the most common way to learn for children, especially when they are small. Parents are his reference model and are attentive to everything we do and say to do the same. Thanks to imitation, children learn vocabulary, discover how to carry out day-to-day routines and interpret the gestures we make to know what we feel, emotions.
Several years ago, two scientific teams seeking the roots of empathy-a basic part of human nature that allows most people to care about others-found the regions of the brain that support the learning by imitation.
The studies, carried out by a team from France and another from the United States, with the participation of neuroscientists specialized in the social cognitive area, led to the identification of a network of brain regions that support human imitation and that allow a person distinguish itself from others.
According to these scientists, the child does not learn to imitate. It is part of our biological nature, that is, we were born to imitate. Empathy has roots in the first years of life and can be linked to imitation.
How to enhance learning by imitating children
We know that babies imitate very early in life. From the time of Aristotle we already had the idea that we learn by imitation, and later discoveries showed that children do not immediately replicate what they see, but they observe everything with great attention. So imitation is becoming a good way of learning that acquires more and more importance with the growth and development of children.
In order to promote learning by imitating your children, you can implement these ideas:
- Fill any stimulus of love and attention to the child. The best learning plans are useless if you lack the two most important ingredients to strengthen your safety: love and attention.
- Proposing to read, sing or talk with each child every day. Upon arrival from school, at snack, at bedtime ...
- Always answer your children's questions. Some will be simpler and others more complicated but think that if they do, it is because they are interested in the answer or because they want to get your attention.
- Give him opportunities to run, jump, dance, paint, cut ... Fine and gross motor skills are important sources of stimuli.
- Allow your child to make some decisions and assume their consequences However small is.
- Take advantage of situations of daily life to turn them into an inexhaustible source of stimulation. With patience and good humor, doing the laundry with the little one can be the ideal moment to classify the clothes by colors, textures, sizes even smells!
- Think a weekly plan in which each day you offer stimuli to develop each of your five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. On Saturday and Sunday, I review. The sense of taste is usually less stimulated at these ages. If you intentionally vary the menu frequently, you will achieve a double objective: to stimulate your children through taste and to educate their strength and willingness to learn to eat everything. One last tip: it's not worth masking everything with tomato sauce or mayonnaise; we would have lost both objectives.
Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: José Antonio Alcázar. Education Consultant