A mirror is a simple, everyday toy that infants love to look at and play with. Very young infants may simply look at a mirror and smile, while older babies might try to reach out and touch the “baby” in the mirror. Eventually babies realize that the mirror shows them their own reflection, and they'll learn to point when you ask who is in the mirror.
For young infants, you can lay a mirror flat on the ground and let your baby look while he lies on his tummy. Propping the mirror up in front of him encourages him to lift his head to look at his reflection. For older babies, sit in front of a mirror with them and make faces. Stick out your tongue, coo or smile and encourage your baby to smile back. Touch your baby’s ears, eyes or nose as you name each body part.
Mirror play benefits your infant in several different ways. Sitting in front of the mirror with your infant provides effective bonding time. Playing peekaboo in the mirror with your infant helps him to develop his sense of object permanence and body awareness. Teaching your baby to imitate when you make faces in the mirror helps prepare him to imitate speech sounds when he starts learning to talk.
Make mirror time part of your regular routine with your infant. Hold him in front of the bathroom mirror after a bath or a diaper change and tickle his belly. Sit him in front of a mirror for playtime, or put a flat mirror on his high chair tray while you prepare a meal. Play peekaboo with a mirror, appearing and disappearing in the reflection. All of these activities help to ensure that mirror time is fun and that you can bond with your baby during this activity.
Use only unbreakable mirrors on the floor or high chair with your infant. Check them regularly and discard any that develop chips or cracks. Watch for and discard any small parts attached to mirrored toys, as they could become choking hazards. Supervise your baby in the bathroom or anywhere else in your home there is a breakable mirror. Support your infant when he is looking in the bathroom mirror and don't leave him unsupervised.
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