One of the core principles of NLP is modeling. Now I’m not talking about shaping fashion, I’m talking about the truest meaning of imitation, imitation.

Babies watch what you do from the moment they are born, and they want to imitate you. This is how they learn and develop the social skills they need in life. They are so in tune with you that they will understand your emotions and mimic your mannerisms and facial expressions.

We’ve all gone through those times when we’re irritable or very tired and worrying, we pass babies on to other people and their moods change. From being grumpy, they suddenly looked more relaxed. This is because they already know our emotions.

We can take advantage of this, but rarely do. Here’s how to do it. Put your baby where you want her to sleep, but where she can see you when you lie down. A good place is next to the sofa or by the bed in her cot or basket. Turn off the lights and play some quiet music. I like to use classical music, but choose something she doesn’t relate to singing because you want the music in the background.

Take some time now to face your baby and get her attention. Start by copying what she does, mirroring her. Avoid imitating any crying, but you can replicate any hand movement and head movement. This is called matching and mirroring. The moment she takes the lead, you are imitating her. After a while, she’ll be interested in it and get involved. Make your movements very clear and specific so she can see that you are imitating her movements.

Now you need to take the lead because you should be in control, not her. Start leading the way with funny noises or clapping your hands and nose to let her watch what you’re doing. You need to get her to reflect your behavior now.

This may take some time, especially if she is crying when you start, but as soon as you know she’s fed and changed, she should be ready for bed.

Once she reflects and matches your behavior, you can begin your sleepy routine. Yawn obviously, then say “Mom is tired”, “Mom is going to bed now”, then lie down and let her see you. Now it’s important that you don’t get up because she needs to lie down too. If you sit up again she won’t settle because she now wants you to do something she can imitate, so turn off your phone and really focus on sleeping (even if you do get dressed and go out and babysit any minute are due!).

After lying down, breathe slowly and heavily as if you were sleeping. She will hear this and copy you. Remain very still and maintain sleep breathing. I assure you it will work, but the only problem is that you will most likely fall asleep as well. This may be fine as you need plenty of sleep when you have a baby or toddler, but if you’re going out you may need to have your partner come over and gently wake you up!

This is just one of the many uses for matching and mirroring, we will discuss others on my website blog.

Judy Batkoviak

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