There are many things in parenthood that bring a twinkle to the eye. There are lots of great books helping us understand how babies change and learn. A baby enjoying the small things in life seems to remind us of the wonders of life we used to notice before we grew up. What babies seem to love the most is to see their own faces in the reflected in a mirror. Once they recognise parents and grandparents, it becomes even more entertaining for all involved!
Whether it’s your face – the one they love the most – or a face in a book, or their own face in a mirrored toy, the experience is sure to light up the baby’s eyes with delight.
Why do babies love to see their reflection, though?
Why Do Babies Like Mirrors So Much?
Everything is new and exciting for a baby. When lights, shadow, and movement are reflected from mirrored surfaces, it grabs your baby’s attention, drawing them into a fascinating world. It’s amazing for them to be outside, even a playground they aren’t necessarily old enough to enjoy yet can provide some great stimulation with trees, sky and bright play equipment.
When your baby is looking at their own reflection in a mirror, interacting with the “other” baby is all part of the fun. Infinitely curious, you can see your baby wondering where this newcomer has been hiding. Of course, at this stage, your baby has no idea that the reflection is their own face, but you can almost see their brain analyzing the situation.
The glossy, sparkling surface of the mirror captivates little minds, too.
Beyond entertainment, using mirrors can be highly beneficial to a baby’s development. We’ll look at a half a dozen of those right now.
6 Ways Mirrors Can Help Your Baby’s Development
- Increased hand-eye coordination.
- Better motor skills.
- Boosted attention span.
- A prop for teaching emotional skills and language skills.
- Sharpened vision.
- Fine motor movement.
1) Increased Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a crucial skill, that’s picked up along the way, rather than strictly taught.
When your baby is playing in front of a mirror, it’s natural they will spend a lot of time reaching out, touching, or patting the mirror. This movement effectively strengthens and perfects hand-eye coordination.
2) Better Motor Skills
Your baby will want to get as close as possible to the reflection in the mirror. They are intrigued by what they see and want to investigate.
To get as close as possible to the mirror, they’ll need to maneuver themselves around. Whether rolling, crawling, sitting or standing, they’ll be prompted to move with more urgency than normal, which is a brilliant way to practice gross motor skills.
3) Boosted Attention Span
For a baby overwhelmed by a world in which, literally, everything is new, concentrating on any single item is a rarity. All they want is the next new thing in line.
A reflected image holds their attention beautifully, and they’ll become engrossed in that reflection.
The longer your baby focuses for, the more their acquired attention span will increase.
4) A Prop For Teaching Emotional Skills and Language Skills
If you’re teaching your baby words, gestures or emotional concepts, using a mirror will show them how to imitate each one. It can be a useful approach.
5) Sharpened Vision
When your baby watches movement in a mirror, their visual tracking gets a workout. Whether it’s seeing their own reflection, watching the dog padding along behind them, or noticing you sitting nearby, they will follow the reflections and sharpen their visual skills, without even being aware of it.
6) Fine Motor Movement
Whether it’s reaching out to the reflection in a larger mirror or grasping at a handheld mirrored toy, fine motor skills are strengthened whenever mirrors are involved.
Now, you can see why babies love mirrors so much, and some of the many direct benefits of playing with mirrors. How can you make sure the mirror is baby-friendly?
How Can You Choose a Safe Mirror For Your Baby?
If the mirror is intended for solo play, make sure it’s made from plastic and that all edges are covered with soft fabric.
If you’ve got larger mirrors, make certain they’re very securely fixed to the wall.
If you’re buying a mirror for the car or the nursery, make sure it’s intended for that purpose.
When it comes to supervised playing with your baby, any kind of mirror can be used safely.
What are you waiting for? Get out a mirror and make your baby’s day!