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What is that baby thinking?

September 26, 2016

Any parent or someone who’s spent time with babies or young children will have wondered at least once, and perhaps many times, about what the baby was thinking. The manner through which they absorb and interact with things can be hypnotizing, especially if you are a parent.

Sometimes they seem like goofy animals, even beasts. Other times, the thought process feels intricate, as if they are studying and considering. Turns out, it’s all correct.

“Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species,” says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.

This gives reason, then, to the expert recommendations that parents and caregivers should read to and talk and sing with, children.

And it makes sense, then, that if we are able to teach them or impart wisdom to them about resilience from a young age, that they would process it, retain it and live it.

So it’s not JUST about reading and talking, but how we do it and the content we share. If we combine Gopnick’s theory with the idea that we want to raise children to learn some things we deem good and right and beneficial, then our own behavior becomes that much more important.

There are no new discoveries I’m imparting here. It’s a known fact that children are like little sponges that take in everything and that they’ll use that information to become the people they will become. But what I’m considering, as a mom, is how to do that intentionally and with the “right” ideas. And what that means to me could be quite different than what it means to you.

If this interests you, you may enjoy this Ted Talk from Gopnick.

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