Empathy & Perspective Taking

Two Minutes in the Life of Jacob

My mom recently started nannying a three-year-old boy named Jacob, and after watching him the last few weeks I decided he would be the perfect subject. Before actually filming the video, I observed Jacob’s behavior.  He is a very active child who is obsessed with watching fans rotate and turning on lights.  I joke that he is definitely going to be an architect as he runs through every room in the house turning on lights and naming vents, steps, and doors.  Just like any toddler, Jacob is curious and always repeats everything we say.  He is giggly and bouncing all around playing with our dog, Koda.  I kept all of these things in mind when I took my phone out to shoot the video.  Here is the two-minute snapshot into the life of Jacob.

I learned many things through this process of filming from this three-year old’s point of view.  Jacob tends to look at the ground as he walks and climbs the stairs.  As soon as he is in a room his eyes shoot up staring at the fan and light.  Light switches are hard to reach so he climbs up on couches, stairways, and chairs to turn them on.  Jacob would slow down on the wood floor because it can be slippery with socks and then speed up on the tile, rugs, and carpet.  I simulated this running through the kitchen and spinning in circles.  I am an active person and boy was this a constant race!  I went down the stairs slowly as he does hanging on to the railing so he doesn’t fall.  I went all around the house: upstairs, downstairs, in bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and to the back window to mimic his active nature.  I tried to keep him out of my video, but sometimes he crossed over in front or ran into me.  I wanted to make this as accurate as possible, so I did everything he did.  I am 5’11” and forgot what is was like to have such a different perspective.  Our dog is more at his level and that is probably why he is obsessed with poking him and pulling his tail.  Jacob likes to climb in his cage with the dog and in the video Koda was taking a “rest” (from Jacob).

It was strange to put myself in this toddler’s point of view.  It gave me a better idea of what is important to him and the way he views the world around him.  It is amazing how innocent, curious, and simple a child’s life can be.  He is focused on specific things (fans, lights) and inquisitive of anything he can touch.  He was giggling the whole time finding it hilarious that I was crouched down with my phone filming.  He repeats us and talks to himself or his toy monkey that has a little blankie attached.  Afterward, he watched the video back and just kept repeating, “Again? Again?” wanting to see and hear himself on the screen.  It was super cute!

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