Your baby has been observing you intently, even when you are not paying attention. The little one has been picking up signals and clues on how to do certain tasks and how to behave based on your actions. As a parent, you may either be doing these actions intentionally to demonstrate things to your baby, or you may be just going about your daily chores.
Between the fourth and seventh months, babies start imitating sounds and actions from people around them. Apart from normal habits, babies tend to imitate two other crucial things, one is facial expressions and the second is sound.
Your baby will see you smile and grin and may also at times notice your angry look. Over time, she will associate these expressions with different emotions and imitate the same in the process of reacting to certain stimuli.
Some of the most common gestures babies usually imitate range from shaking the head, pointing at something s/he wants or raising arms to be picked up. Facial gestures like a smile, frown, look of disgust and irritation also go a long way in communicating how s/he feels regarding various objects in the vicinity.
In most cases, these are gestures s/he may have seen his/her parents or care-givers doing, which the baby has then picked up. In terms of picking up and imitating sounds, your baby understands different meanings through the tone of your voice – soothing tones relate to comforting, whereas agitated tones indicate doing something that was wrong. Soon you will hear your baby’s voice raise and drop as if asking a question or making a statement.
Parents should respond to their baby’s babbling and communicate with them. Never dismiss them off as being gibberish. Babbling is your baby’s first step at communicating. It is their first attempt at mimicking the sounds and sentences they hear around themselves and the environmental sounds in the ambience that they pick up.
Parents should help the baby pick up different sounds and expressions and words during this time. Read to the baby, play games, sing out, use hands and facial expressions while talking to him/her – all of this will make the learning experience for your baby much richer.