Every parent knows this precious and unpredictable moment… the moment when your child discovers their shadow for the first time.
Some cry, some scream and some, like the darling little girl in this video, choose to play and dance with their shadow instead.
Taken in the UK, 18-month old Kayla notices her shadow for the first time and is clearly curious about the dark blob that follows her wherever she goes.
Although short in length (just 17 seconds), this adorable video beautifully captures the wonderful openness and wonder that comes naturally at that age, explaining why it quickly went viral. Posted just a few months ago, it already has over six million views on Facebook and has been shared 236,000 times!
“I love this. So funny when they are afraid of their Shadow and they start running away from it and it won’t go away. So cute,” wrote one viewer. “That was just cute as could be…smart baby,” wrote another.
Now, as we mentioned before, not all children embrace their shadows so easily. Just imagine noticing the elongated “person” at your heels for the first time. What IS that and why is it following me? It’s not hard to see why some children might be a bit apprehensive.
In fact, many Facebook viewers were reminded of their own experiences.
“When my daughter first discovered her shadow (& Daddy’s) she screamed bloody murder,” wrote one friend.
And while the fear will eventually pass, let’s be honest… a fear of shadows can make life more difficult than it needs to be.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can help your child make friends with their shadow and even enjoy the science behind it, even if they don’t understand it yet.
For example, show your child your shadow. Reach out and touch it; let them see it move with you. You can also play simple games – like these listed on Rhythms of Play – to encourage your child to interact with their shadow and use it as a source of entertainment and learning. After all, it’s hard to be scared of something you’ve been playing with all day!
You should also show your children other kinds of shadows, like those belonging to inanimate objects and those you make with your hands and a flashlight. Not only is this a fun game for your child to play, but it also introduces them to the reason for the shadow and that can be helpful down the road if “scary shadows” in the room keep your child from sleeping at night.
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