Why is Mirror Play Important For Babies?

5 min read

Written by Suma rp

Suma rp

Have you wondered why babies stare at themselves in the mirror? Not for checking the clumsy hair or the leftover piece of food stuck at the corner of their lips. It makes them happy and helps them stay active and intrigued. As parents, we must understand that mirror play for babies is essential, and has a crucial role in their development.

When you sit along with your baby during their playtime with a mirror, it will be delightful for you to see your little one play and giggle. This article takes you through the importance, advantages, and tips to encourage your baby with mirror play.

In This Article

Why Do Babies Love Mirror Play?

The little ones begin to look at faces and like seeing new faces. They love the baby on the other side when they look in the mirror. Babies do not know that the mirror is reflecting their face. They simply enjoy the company of the little one on the flip side of the mirror and continue cooing and babbling with them. The movements and shadows reflected in the mirror are so exciting for the babies. Mirror play is one of the best ways to interact and have fun with your little ones.

What Do Babies See When They Look in the Mirror?

Babies initially do not understand that the mirror is just a reflection of self and the surrounding. They identify and understand themselves in the mirror over some time. The interpretation of the images in the mirror at different periods would be different.

By 2 Months

This period is known as the differentiation phase. During the first two months, babies can understand the difference between their movements and the movement in the environment. Their vision is still blurry and developing.

By 4 Months

The vision is developing and is good during this phase. Babies will be able to track the movements and begin to enjoy mirror play during this phase.

By 6 months

During this phase, your little ones might notice and recognize familiar faces in the mirror and respond to them while they see the faces in the mirror.

By 12 months

By the first birthday, the baby’s vision is as good as an adult’s. You can continue talking to them and teach them the body parts. This will help in improving language skills.

Above 12 Months

During this phase, the babies can identify that the mirror reflects their image. They also begin to develop self-centered emotions like shame and pride.

Importance of Mirror Play For Babies

Mirror Play is considered crucial because it helps in several developmental milestones for babies.

1. Tummy Time

When you put your baby on their tummy, most of them protest and cry their heart out. Try placing a safe mirror in front of them. They will get excited and slowly accept tummy time. Further, it helps your little one lift the head slowly and look around the room.

2. Supports Visual Tracking

The mirror reflects the images around. When your little one watches the moving things around, they get better visual tracking. It might be looking into their body movements or any other moving objects.

[Read : Baby’s Vision Development]

3. Develops Fine Motor Skills

When babies look at themselves in the mirror, they try to reach and pat the other baby. This helps in improving fine motor skills. Further, a safe hand mirror helps better grasp hand and finger coordination when they try to move the mirror at different angles to look at different views of the surroundings.

4. Attention Span

When your little one looks in the mirror for a longer time, her attention and concentration improve as they look into their image closely for a longer time.

Top Benefits of Mirror Play For Babies

The following are the benefits of mirror play for babies.

  • When babies look into the mirror, they follow their image and get amused by their actions, including smiling, blinking, and many other reactions. This helps them focus keenly on their body parts and helps build social and emotional milestones, which is vital during the first year.
  • Gazing into the mirror helps them identify familiar faces.
  • Mirror play helps develop their tiny muscles when they go and try to get hold of their image.
  • It also helps in developing their language skills if you talk to them through a mirror and make them understand their different feelings.
  • Playing with mirror helps in building up fine and gross motor skills.
  • Develops hand-eye coordination.

[Read : When Will My Baby Give Her First Smile?]

Learning Outcome of Mirror Play in Babies

Here are a few learning outcomes of mirror play in babies

  • Mirror play develops and enhances the visual senses.
  • Using mirrors during tummy time helps develop their tiny muscles and physical capacity.
  • Mirror Play also gives an excellent opportunity for you to interact with your little one even before they begin to talk words.
  • You can talk, laugh, and have fun with mirror play.
  • It also helps in developing language skills.

[Read : Speech And Language Developmental Milestones]

Tips to Help Your Baby Play With Mirror

Here are some tips to help your baby play with the mirror.

  • Try placing a safe and baby friendly mirror in front of your little one during tummy time. Seeing another face in the mirror excites them and makes them stay longer on the belly during tummy time.
  • If you have a wall-mounted mirror, try making them sit on the floor near the mirror. Make sure you support them from the back and allow them to look in the mirror.
  • You can involve the elder siblings and play mirror games, including peek-a-boo.
  • You can also make your little one sit in front of the mirror and sing along to songs.

When we have an infant or toddler at home, we continuously examine how to introduce or improve new abilities. It is not surprising that a simple mirror play for babies could quickly induce so many developmental milestones. Let us follow the simple tips and introduce the mirror play to your little one. They will love it for sure. It is better late than never. Happy Parenting!


1. What Age Can a Baby Look in the Mirror?

Babies can look into the mirror a few days after birth. But, they will recognize themselves only after 18 to 20 months.

2. What do Babies Learn by Looking in the Mirror?

Babies learn three main attributes – Social-emotional learning, self-awareness, and empathy.

3. Is It Ok For Babies to Look Into the Mirror?

Yes. It is entirely okay for babies to look in the mirror. It supports child development and learning.

Suma rp,M.Sc (Organic Chemistry) Rayalaseema University B.Sc (Biotechnology) Sri Krishna Devaraya University.

Suma is a passionate content writer with a strong keenness to understand the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Suma has successfully transitioned into a full-time content writer and a key contributor at Being The Parent. She leverages on her experimental background in chemistry and experience in writing to come up with well-researched content that helps parents struggling to deal with various medical conditions of their children.Read more.

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