Long before your baby recognizes who she sees in the mirror, she will love to gaze at her own reflection. Babies love looking at faces, especially those with lots of expression. When your baby looks in the mirror, she does not know it is her own face. She may come to understand that she is seeing herself sometime between 9 and 24 months old.
You can encourage her to recognize herself by pointing to your baby’s reflection in the mirror, and then pointing to your own reflection. You can talk about what you see and point out different features.
Help her to notice how things are reflected in the mirror, like a ring on your hand. Point at the ring on your finger, then point to its reflection in the mirror. Use a variety of different mirrors in your house to help her identify that she can see herself in those, too.
You can also use mirrors which are made especially for babies. You can find toys which have mirrors attached to them, such as a stuffed animal or play mat. When you are looking for a baby mirror, remember to check the following:
- Make sure the mirror is made of an unbreakable material and gives an accurate reflection. Not all mirrors designed for babies provide a true reflection.
- There are basically two types of mirrors: one which can be attached to the crib and one that is free standing. The free standing mirror is perfect for tummy time. There are also mirrors which can go from the crib to the floor.
The mirror game helps your baby learn how to focus, track images, and explore facial expressions. It also promotes social and emotional development when she’s interacting with you and others. Until your baby comes to recognize herself, she is simply finding her face in the mirror to be a neat, entertaining experience. It takes time for your baby to become aware that she is her own person, but you are helping her make the connections!