Why Kids Imitate Parents?

A girl imitating her mom

Imitating mom's action, doing household chores
Imitating mom's action, doing household chores | Source

At what age do toddler starts to imitate ?

Kids are the mirror image of their parents. Your kids’ behaviors are the replica of yours or your spouse because they are great at imitating parents’ activities.

At age 2 and above, a toddler is eager to imitate his parents’ daily activities such as

  • Mopping the floor
  • Washing the car
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating meals
  • Interaction behavior at home

You may notice that your toddler is imitating your behavior when he is playing with other kids or his own siblings. A little girl love to pretend as a mommy role, busy doing household chores, cooking with a kitchen toy set, washing clothes, scolding kids and caring for her so called kids. Usually the “Kids” are her favorite teddy, a doll or a bolster.

A little boy pretends to be a “daddy” role, getting up in the morning stretching out with a big rowdy yawn ( very embarrassing!), wash up and prepare to go to work, driving a car or playing golf.

My childhood memories

I remembered during my childhood days, me and my brother would sneakily rummage through mom’s cleaned laundry and dressed up like our parents’ with their own clothes.

I wore my mom’s bra, blouse and dress while my brother wore dad’s brief, pants and shirt. Then, I sneaked into my parents’ room, “borrowed” mom’s hair clips and necklaces while my brother went to get his school bag as his pretend suitcase.

We mimicked our parents’ conversation and mannerisms with lots of laughter. We had fun until mom came chasing after us with a cane in her hand!

This is the beginning stage of kids leaning to imitate.

kids imitate their parents first
kids imitate their parents first | Source

Why do kids imitate?

  • Kids imitate because they want to be like their parents or older siblings. They had looked up you as their role model, the perfect person in his life that they wanted to be when they grow up into adulthood.
  • They want to learn to be the kind of parent that they can accept in 20-30 years later of their lives.
  • Imitate is not just a child’s play, it is where they slowly came to realized their own identity as they grow.
  • Kids learned how to behave in front of strangers , talking to the public, treat their own parents ( as how you treated their grandparents ), conversation skills, attitude towards your own lifestyle and mannerism at home.
  • Kids look up their parents as their perfect role model.

How do kids Imitate?

Most children love to pretend play at home. They are constantly observing their aprents or other adults family members at home.

Naturally, creating the behaviours in a certain way without realizing that they build the child's personality, character, self-confidence and their abilities to manage various responsibilities.

Children play by pretending to go to work, while carrying a bag, cooking, washing laundry, sweeping the floor, taking care of a doll or teddy bear or a younger sibling and opening a make believe grocery shop.

Little girls usually prefers to be mummies. They will use dolls or teddies to be their babies, feeding, changing clothes, bathing and coaxing the crying doll to sleep. They dress up in their parents's clothes, mimic their conversation, mannerisms and especially the scolding ways which they care for their dolls.

Therefore, parents are force to set good examples by becoming more mature, watching their language and avoid showing their unhealthy behaviour. Burping, blowing and digging noses, scratching unexpected parts of the body and foul language are not appropriate to be shown in front of the innocent child.When adults perform good behaviour and attitude, it will leave a strong impression on the child's mind. Of course, he will follow suit when opportunity arises.

Kitchen set
Kitchen set | Source

I bought this kitchen play set for my daughter when she was 3 years old. Now my son who is 7 years old has overtook her kitchen set toys.

She loved to have her own kitchen utensils and I am glad she doesn't have to ruin my kitchen now.

It comes with 70 piece of kitchen utensils from wok to ladle soup spoon. The whole set are made from plastic, easy to wash and dry, no sharp edges. Really durable, imagine this toy could last for 12 years!

Don't buy those expensive kitchen set. Let your child play with simple, easy to play toys. She might toss aside later if she gets bored. So, don't waste your money.

Teach her the right attitude

If your little girl wants to imitate mommy, let her learn the RIGHT attitude instead of the wrong attitude.

Come on, every mom is not a perfect person on earth! I am sure you know your mom’s bad habits and behaviors.

Learn the good stuff, don’t let your child learn the bad stuff.

How do little girls imitate?

As your little girl grows up year by year, she will try to imitate mom’s actions, talking tone and try to mold herself into mom’s image.

It is a replica.

According to her knowledge, mom is the BEST person on Earth, the leader of the household, the person in charge of cooking, taking care of sick kids and hubby, educating the kids like a teacher and keeping the home as tidy as possible.

She may or may not become the EXACT replica of mom but most of her behavior, attitude and actions are influenced by mom for sure. Your little girl knew that in future, she will become like mom, an adult woman.

teach your child to fold handkerchiefs, the easiest chore
teach your child to fold handkerchiefs, the easiest chore | Source

What should your child do?

l When you are shopping, let her pay the cashier with the exact money for her favorite doughnuts. She will learn how to be patience when queue up,when to pay and say “Thank you”. These are good mannerism.

l When choosing fresh food at the supermarket, teach her how to choose the good quality fruits/ vegetables / product ( of her favorite yogurt ). She will learn that choosing good food is important and essential.

  1. At home, let her mop the floor after you have swept the floor. Make sure the mop is not too wet. Otherwise she might slip and fall. My son started to mop floor when he was 5 years old. He is still mopping the floor now at age 7.
  2. Teach your little girl to fold hanky instead of clothes which is easier to fold and pile up. Then, you can guide her where to keep the hankies. She will learn that folding own laundry is part of her routine in future. My son folds his own clothes, hankies, socks and keep the cleaned laundry in his wardrobe. At least I don’t have to do EVERYTHING!

Do you allow your child to imitate your bad habits?

  • No way! This is not allowed in my home
  • I don't know, I didn't realized that. I was too late to stop him
  • It's not my fault! He copycat me! I didn't teach him!
  • Kids are innocent. It's alright for them to imitate my bad habits
  • I don't have any bad habits!
See results without voting

Understanding the Fact

Children at this age become more aware of the fact that they will grow up to be a woman or man.

So, they will attempt to follow their parents' footsteps,for instance; paying attention to love ones and friends, displaying their appropriate attitudes towards their work, housechores and responsibilities.

It is a common scene for children to copy parents' dressing style, learn to express various way of human emotions such as love, fear, anger, grief and happiness.

One of the actions is face expression such as sticking out tongue. Remember that the child is innocent.

Once he learns the rope, it is hard for him to stop the bad behavior.


How do little boys imitate?

Little boys want to be the replica of their dads, being the MAN of the house, the person who says everything and make the final decisions. They think it is COOL to be daddy. Therefore, little boys may attempt to put themselves into daddy’s role at home. What dad does at home:

1. Read the newspaper or books.

Reading is a wonderful habit that little boys should start at early age. It will widen his knowledge and able to read lots of words before he starts kindy.

Although your son may not be able to read well, he will at least imitate your reading habits.

2. Shower your family

How dad treats his wife (mommy, daughters (sisters), sons (brothers), parents (grandparents) and towards other men (maybe his friends or neighbors).

Therefore, if you are a dad, use the right attitude and behavior in front of your child. What you see is what you get from your kid.

Treat your family members with love and respect, your son will imitate your behavior too.

Don't say vulgar words in front of your kids. They will imitate you
Don't say vulgar words in front of your kids. They will imitate you | Source

3. Give a helping hand with the household chores.

Help your wife with the household chores such as throw out the garbage (that is easy ), wash the dirty dishes, put dirty clothes into the washing machine ( that shouldn’t be hard) and giving mom a massage or compliment her cooking skill.

If you don’t do any of these actions at home, don’t expect your son to do the same either. He would imitate your unfavorable steps that you wouldn’t want to happen either in the near future.

Don’t give mommy the opportunity to nag. Set the good examples and your son will follow your steps. Do the tasks together, he will find it enjoyable and fun to do things with dad.

4. Don’t say vulgar words.

Guys are prone to blurt out vulgar words when they are angry, pissed off off hanging out with best buddies. It may sound cool to male adults but not to the ears of innocent kids.

They do not realized which words are forbidden, shows disrespect and disgraceful because they don’t even know the meanings of vulgar words either.

Don’t allow your son to imitate “naughty” words in front of others, regardless of relationship or the public to save yourself from embarrassment and disgrace.

Refrain yourself from spitting out bad words with these methods: use your hand to close your mouth when you almost blurt out the word.

Change the vulgar words into something better.

Once I saw a TV drama that a jailbird had a bad habit of saying vulgar words. He didn’t want his kids to learn from him but he couldn’t quit. So, he changed the bad words into something nicer.

Such as instead of “F### off”, he said “Fish off”

Instead of “A@#$ hole”, he said “Marshmallows”

Punish yourself if you did the mistake.

Ask your kid to slap your mouth or pinch your lap each time you say those vulgar words. This worked for my dad.

He can’t stand the pain that my brother pinched and slapped him that he finally stopped his bad habits.

Always Praise and Compliment for the right Imitate behavior

  • Therefore, it is important to give correct instructions and guidance throughout the learning pace.
  • Praising the child's accomplishments when are done well brings confidence to happiness to the child.
  • Provide advices with a smile when mistakes are done instead of scolding. Parents could suggest alternative ideas when are needed.
  • Respecting the child's decision is one of the important factors that parents should bear in mind if you want your child to respect you in return.
  • Otherwise, the child will find it unfair causing a battle of answer back situation which often occurs.

© 2010 peachy

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Comments 13 comments

anita rocha 4 years ago

This is very helpful everyone should read it.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thank you.

mefajf07300302 4 years ago

Isn't it the truth! They are like your mirrors everything mommy and daddy does they want to do!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home Author


yeah, kids are the mirror of our life. They reflects whatever we do and say!!

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

yes indeed, children do watch their elders very carefully, and can pick up any and all of our bad habits as well as the good. great post!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home Author

yeah, my kiddo learnt my bad habits too. Had to stop them and him before he get used to them. Thanks for reading

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

Great hub! And very true. It is so amazing to see them imitating though. It is hard sometimes to remember that we should be careful, because they first time they mimic us, even when we do something wrong, it tends to make us laugh. And then, oops! Kids just keep on doing it then!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home Author



Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 20 months ago from India

My friend, this is very detailed, wonderful and informative hub about the way kids imitate their parents. Though my children are well grown up now, this hub reminded me of those wonderful days of growing -up of my children. This hub also made me stop and think how our behavior as parents moulded the personality of our children.

No doubt, our own personality traits and values greatly affect the learning skills and habits of children. You have brought forth a very useful and important hub that should be read by every parent who is sincere and concerned with all out growth of their children. Voted up.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author


thanks, how old are your kids?

Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 20 months ago from India

My daughter is twenty five years old and son twenty three. Peachy, thanks for asking this question. I loved reading you hub.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks for your information, they really are adults, you must be a proud parent

DDE profile image

DDE 6 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Incredible hub! Children imitating their parents is true and I am so different to that in some ways. May be I do and I don't notice it unless someone sees it and tells me about it. It's difficult to be like my mother or imitate her I do different at least I think so. Lots to think about here.

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