You might want to start paying close attention to what you're thinking around your kids, because new research indicates that toddlers can actually read our minds. (Isn't that just great?)
Yep, children all over the world were studied, and the results were published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. Researchers found that toddlers as young as a year-and-a-half are able to figure out what we're thinking.
They used a test called the "false-belief task," in which a person comes into a room and hides an object. Then another person comes in and takes the object out of the hiding place and puts it into his pocket. A child observes what goes on and is then asked, "Where do you think the first person will wind up looking for the object?" Kids usually answer that they believe the person will first search in the original location where they hid the object -- because they aren't aware that someone has moved it. Their understanding of this concept indicates that they understand other people's perspectives.
Ok, so how in the heck do they use this method on young children if they aren't able to talk yet?
By following toddlers' eye movements during the test, researchers were able to figure out that they do understand what is going on. They can perceive what we're thinking much earlier than expected, which also means they pick up language skills at an early age.
And you know what? After hearing about this study, so many of the experiences I had with my son when he was little make a lot more sense now.
I won't lie -- I was a pretty frazzled new mom. I'm not sure if it was the lack of sleep, living far away from family and friends, or just getting used to such a huge lifestyle change -- whatever the case, I was kind of a mess. And now I know that my poor kid probably sensed my anxiety, which is probably why he cried more or seemed more agitated when I was overwhelmed and stressed out.
On the flip side, when I was calm, cool, and collected -- so was he, almost like something as simple as seeing me happy made him happy, which was a huge win-win for both of us.
Hmm. I wonder if the whole "mind over matter" thing is really more powerful than we think, especially when it comes to parenting? Maybe if we constantly think happy thoughts around our kiddos, they'll sense it, which will make them much more easy-going and content.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Have you ever noticed your little one picking up on your thoughts?
Image via Mary Fischer