Menu

Babies as young as 15 months learn determination from watching you 💪

And they really learn valuable lessons when they see us struggle.

Babies as young as 15 months learn determination from watching you 💪

My toddler is an enthusiastic housekeeper. He loves vacuuming, helping with the laundry and unloading the dishwasher. I often wondered if he's just imitating and understands that this isn't actually fun. So it was reassuring to see new science suggests he's not just copying my husband and me; even though he's younger than 2 years old, our toddler is learning a good work ethic from our examples.


The new report from MIT, published in Science, found kids as young as 15 months are prone to copying a parent when they see us exerting a lot of effort—so keep that in mind the next time you're struggling through a home workout or simply failing to open a jar of pickles.

Your determination makes a bigger difference in the eyes of your kids than you may have realized!

For the study, the researchers invited some toddlers to their lab to try a new toy. It featured a large button that appeared to play music, but didn't actually function. The kids who previously watched adults struggle and work hard to get through a couple tasks were about twice as likely to keep attempting to get their toys to work.

Plus, the toy was completely different from the tasks the adults struggled with in front of the babies, so we know this isn't just a game of mimicking.

“They're not just imitating because the adult never showed button presses or trying to activate a music player," says Julia Leonard, lead study author, according to HealthDay. “Infants are watching your behavior intently and actually learning from what you do."

The benefits aren't only there when you succeed at a task in front of your children, either. “This does at least suggest that it may not be a bad thing to show your children that you are working hard to achieve your goals," says Laura Schultz, a professor of cognitive science at MIT.

According to Schulz, the lab findings suggest that we parents don't need to worry about making everything look easy—and shouldn't try to conceal the realities of striving for a goal from our kids.

Everything is not easy, so if our kids see us working hard for what we want, they'll work hard, too.

The takeaway is this: Making chores look effortless isn't going to make your kids want to do them. But seeing you scrub down the dishes in spite of the grime likely will help motivate them to work hard, too.

That's good news for me. I never was good at pretending to take enjoyment in laundry or dishes. I just have to keep doing them—and hope my toddler continues to want to help.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life