Rise and Shine
Free Flow from Jennie Mo’
“Who’s that in the mirror?” This is the start of a song I sing to both of my children when things feel out of control at times. For some reason, I bring us to a mirror. I think it’s because mirrors are usually above sinks, and I’ve found that adding water to a difficult moment helps diffuse it. And so mirrors have become a helpful “buddy” in a lot of tough moments.
Mirrors help us pause. Set aside the vanity for a moment. Take in what a mirror is on a deeper level. It’s a window into a larger picture; it shows a room behind you, a world behind you--even if it’s just a wall, you see more than just you and realize that you’re a part of something bigger. A mirror also makes you pause and shows you yourself during days when you don’t have a second to do anything for you. It’s sort of like, “Oh hi, there you are! You’re that person trying to do it all and doing the best you can.” It’s a moment of self-compassion. For a child, a mirror can provide a similar source of comfort. It may show their crying face in the same square with a supportive one behind them, holding them, saying, “I’m here. I love you no matter what face you make and no matter what you feel. I’m here. With you.”
Adding mirrors to play has so many different purposes. For infants it promotes visual tracking. For toddlers, they recognize themselves and realize their independence. Children also learn to develop their own sense of identity when they see their reflection and can begin to understand their movements, features, and expressions. On their own, mirrors can add shine, reflection, and dimensionality to play. But they can also support a child’s self image in the play environment and encourage exploration of their surrounding materials even more.