- Get down on your child's level
- Observe to see where your child it taking his/her play
- Respond when your child interacts with you (verbal and non-verbal interactions)
- Join in, but don't take over
- Narrate or track the child's play from time to time - "Oh, you are scooping the beans".."You are pouring the beans"...etc (this lets them know you are fully present and it makes them feel valued and confident in their play - not to mention its great for language development with the little ones.)
- Repeat what the child says from time to time - "I poured the beans"/"Yes, you did pour the beans."
- Instead of "Good job" try using phrases like, "You sure do know how to scoop and pour." or "Look at the amazing tower you built." ( I also like "You must be so proud of yourself" in place of "Im so proud of you".)
- Allow them to play with things any way they want to (safely) - with no "right" or "wrong" way.