The 10 minute a day play programme
Parent-child Interaction Fundamentals of communication are the foundations of subsequent Quality one to one time with no particular task. Parent constantly follows and responds to the child’s behaviour – ‘tuned in’ to child. Responsive to behaviours as if they are intentional, e.g. sounds, movement, facial expression. Parent adapts their body language, voice and facial expression to engage the child. Non –directive and no dominance – parent allows and uses pauses. Parent offers stimuli but doesn’t insist it is taken up. Stops when child is showing signs they have had enough.
Interaction is face to face and child is joined in their ‘own world’. Adult joins in with the child’s behaviour and behaves more like them.
How do I do Special Time? Spend 5 -10 minutes a day playing with your child – 1:1 if possible so you can give your child your full attention. Siblings can be introduced later. Make sure there are no distractions in the room, e.g. TV, telephone, other members of the family. Get down to your child’s level. Emphasis is on play and interaction – not talking.
Ultimate goal is to be a responsive partner rather than directive partner.
Why? Research tells us that it’s the quality of the time that’s important, not the quantity. Helps to develop a play based relationship with your child. Provides time where you can relax and be a responsive partner to your child, rather than the leader.
Allows you to practice being a responsive partner which will generalise into everyday interactions with your child.
Your play time may involve.. Following your child’s movements, actions, sounds. Physical games such as chasing, tickling, jumping, hiding. Play with large objects such as swings. Play ‘Ready steady ….go’ games. Build up the anticipation of ‘go’ using your voice and pausing in between words. Cause and effect toys – building up anticipation of the noise/action/movement that the toy does. Taking turns to build a tower of bricks, put pieces in puzzle, rolling a ball, passing a musical instrument between you. Pretend play with toys, e.g. feeding a doll, putting a teddy to bed etc.
SHOULD ALWAYS INVOLVE BEING A NON-DIRECTIVE RESPONSIVE PARTNER.
Vocalisations – all voice sounds, grunts, murmurs, laughter, humming etc. Other noises made with the mouth – clicking, saliva swishing, blowing etc. Noises – tapping or slapping parts of the body or furniture, clapping, foot stamping, hand rubbing etc. Movements – rocking, swaying, movements around the room, jumping, reaching. Facial expressions – smiles, grimaces, blinks, eye contact, face turning towards you. Physical contact – pats, taps, reaching to hold you. Play that involve toys – cause and effect games, pretend play. What do we respond to?
Language - approximations to words, single words and phrases.
By observing, waiting and listening –it is okay to intrude in what your child is doing but try not to direct. By imitating: providing an obviously similar imitation of what the child just did but combined with signals of enjoyment from you. By joining in: extending your response and signalling fun and enjoyment e.g. with rocking or clapping. Joining in a game with a toy, e.g. rolling a ball. By saying something: something that is approving e.g. ‘that’s a good noise’ etc By being dramatic: a behaviour from the child is rewarded by something gently explosive from you e.g. a sudden movement with a delighted face or a vocalization. How do we respond?
By non verbal responses: smiling, eyes widening, facial expression, using body language.
How do we respond? Pausing and waiting for the child to do something next. By providing a commentary without bombarding. Adding language, e.g. if the child says ‘car’, the adult can say, ‘yes, big car’ etc. Offering stimuli but not insisting it’s taken up.
Try not to ask questions within this time. Give your child the vocabulary instead.
What does the young child learn from this interactions with responsive partners? To engage whilst learning the fundamentals of communication. To enjoy interaction and being with another person. To take turns with certain behaviours e.g. vocalisations, movements. Imitation and eye contact. Use and understanding of facial expression, touch and other non verbal signals. Their vocalisations are meaningful. Cause and effect – child does something which causes parent to do something back. Child can positively affect what is going on around them.
Their behaviours are important and they are important.
Encouraging play with siblings
Siblings can be involved in the play programme too. It is important to make sure that they are supported initially and activities are modelled by you.
References Chatter Matters Hanen