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How Do Babies Learn?

How Do Babies Learn?
By Johnny Moon
Babies learn the same way that older humans learn. They mimic what they hear and see. They observe what they are exposed to and they learn through positive and negative reinforcement.

Take crying for example. A baby will cry when it is hungry. This crying starts off as an outlet for the pain and discomfort that the baby is experiencing by being hungry. The baby soon associates that when it cries, milk arrives. Then the baby will begin to cry as soon as it is hungry to bring on the milk. The baby has learned that his or her cries are responded to. The baby may also learn that the louder the cry or yell, the quicker the response if this turns out to be the case.

This process of learning by association teaches the baby not only how to get what it needs but also how communication can take place through sound. At some point in its early life a baby will learn that if no-one can hear the crying there is no point in doing so to get the milk. It can still cry however as an outlet for pain.

Babies will also mimic. Babies need to be extremely observant because their survival depends on it. This is why they are much more observant than adults. They need to learn how to have their needs met so must pay close attention. It is through observing that they will notice that some of their behaviors cause joy in others and some cause anger.

They will also experiment as they learn and then learn even more through trial and error. A baby’s memory is far more agile than an adult’s. Many things are learned as the memory holds all this newly gathered information.


What appears as simple play is often much more than

that. As play with different objects they are developing eye-hand coordination, spatial awareness and registering various sensations amongst other things. As long as they are playing, something is being practiced.

As they get older, play continues to be hard work. In fact, one could say that play is actually practice for adult life. When a kitten pretends to chase a mouse or a young child pretends to be taking care of an infant or driving a car, these are all actions which are practiced over and over again until the age nears when these actions must be done for real. As real life changes, the way children play changes too.

A sight that would not have been seen 25 years ago is a young toddler pushing her doll in a stroller while speaking into a big plastic pretend mobile phone. Children seem to naturally want to practice what adults are doing now.

Learning happens quite naturally. However, as more and more research is done on how learn and magazines publish findings like the fact that can learn language by listening (who would’ve thought?) more and more parents buy these magazines to have access to these latest research findings. This is in the hope that they can give their child a head start.

Mothers have been singing lullabies to their and telling them stories since the beginning of time. Perhaps we always instinctively knew that speaking to an infant helps the infant acquire language. Research studies now prove that we were right to think this.

While articles on these research topics help to promote a very lucrative parental magazine industry, it is really debatable whether or not will be smarter because parents now read such material. While cultures in developing countries think it is common sense to interact with your baby and speak clearly to him or her as often as possible, other cultures in the developed world are walking around with magazine articles about the latest findings such as; talking to helps them to learn language and toys help them become coordinated.

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Johnny Moon recommends My Baby Advice Blog for baby advice on all baby related topics.

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