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Know Thyself: Is that Moi in the Mirror?
It may seem like babies begin to recognise themselves very very early on, with them definitely taking notice of the other baby in the identical room, smiling and babbling at her and having a great old time. But how would we tell when they begin to realise that it is actually themselves in the reflection and not just another baby? When do they become self-aware?
That’s when the majority of babies will begin to recognize themselves in their reflections. Up until that time, all the interaction with mirrors is purely a fun activity with what they believe to be another person.
The way we know when a baby becomes self aware in terms of their reflection, is through certain psychologist designed experiments. For example, putting a blot of paint on a baby’s face and allowing them to play in front of a mirror. If they try and wipe away the spot, presto! They know it’s themselves they are looking at. If they don’t, then it’s likely they haven’t reach that milestone yet (or they just don’t care about the spot!).
HOW CAN I HELP MY BABY ALONG
You don’t need to wait until your baby is 18 months old before getting started on your way to self recognition! As soon as your baby can, start her playing with a mirror, and try these three activities to help her along!
Imitate her faces, which is a great way to help her learn she is her own separate entity.
Play peekaboo, with yourself or with toys. See if she can pick up patterns of where you hide and where you pop out.
Photo Recognition: go through photos and identify your little one as the person in the pictures.
Self-concept or just self-recognition?
“Psychologists have raised all sorts of questions about what the mirror test reveals. It could be, for example, that infants just don’t understand faces particularly well until they are around two years old. Perhaps, then, they develop a self-concept at a much earlier stage.” // spring.org.uk
For more on baby milestones read our other articles: