One of the basic principles of NLP is modeling. Now I’m not talking about modeling fashion, I’m talking about modeling in its true meaning, which is to copy something, to imitate.

Babies watch what you do from the moment they are born and they want to copy you. This is how they learn and develop the socialization skills they will need in life. They are so in tune with you that they will pick up on your mood and copy your gestures and facial expressions.

We have all experienced those times when exasperated or just incredibly tired and tense we pass the baby to someone else and their mood changes. From being rebellious, they suddenly seem more relaxed. This is because they have noticed our state of mind.

We can use this to our advantage, but we rarely do. Here’s how to do it. Place your baby where you want him to sleep, but in a place where you can see him when he goes to bed. A good place is next to the sofa or next to your bed in your crib or basket. Turn off the light and put on some quiet music. I like to use classical music, but I choose something that she won’t associate with singing because you want the music to be in the background.

Now take some time to look at your baby and get his or her attention. Start by copying what you do, mirroring it. Avoid mirroring any crying, but you can copy the movements of the hands and the head. This is called matching and mirroring. The moment she is taking the initiative, you are copying her. After a while, she will be intrigued by this and will get involved with the activity. Make your movements quite clear and defined so that you can see that you are copying what she is doing.

Now you must take the initiative because it is you who must be in control, not her. Start to take the initiative and make funny noises or clap softly, tap her nose, and have her watch everything you do. You need to make her mirror your behavior now.

It may take some time, especially if she is crying when you start, but as long as you know she is fed and changed, she should be ready for sleep.

Once you are reflecting and adapting your behavior, you can begin the sleep routine. Yawn very obviously and say things like ‘Mom is tired’, ‘Mom is going to sleep now’ and lie down so I can see you. Now it is important that you do not get up because she also needs to be lying down. If you sit down again, she won’t settle because now she expects you to do something else that she can copy, so turn off the phone and focus on going to sleep (even if you’re dressed to go out and the babysitter is due any minute!).

Once you are lying down, breathe heavily and slowly as if you are sleeping. She will listen to this and copy you. Be very still and continue to breathe asleep. I promise you this works, but the only problem is that you will most likely fall asleep too. This may be fine because you need all the sleep you can get when you have a baby or toddler, but if you are about to go out, you may need to ask your partner to come and gently wake you up.

This is just one of many uses for matching and duplicating and we’ll talk about others on my website blog.

By Judy Bartkowiak

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