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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Its Playtime!

When we are fully present with our children during play, we foster self-worth, confidence, and independence (amongst other things).  Child-guided parenting does wonders for the parent-child connection.  Sometimes its hard to let go of our adult expectation/thoughts/lives....so here are a few reminders.
  • 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.


  1. This is so helpful and sooo true!. I actually posted on my own blog last week about a night I just didn't FEEL like playing, but pulled it together to be present for my son. He was happy, and of course began playing independently, allowing me to sit back a bit on a rough night when I needed a little space.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Love this! But I have a question... my 3yo often *insists* that I take over when she's creating something (drawing, coloring, building with blocks) because she says she *can't* do it. I try to offer to do it together (teamwork) rather than just doing it for her when she refuses to create on her own, but she'll have a near melt-down if it doesn't come out *right*. Is this a typical 3yo thing (that she has an idea in her head and is unable to create it in her mental image so she looks for help) or do you have any advice for me to help her open up and explore her own creativity without a right/wrong view. I've always said that she can draw/color/build such and such in any way she wants to and praise everything that she creates, so I'm not sure where the right/wrong thing came from other than her own head.

  3. When I work with children in the play room who want things "perfect" and/or want me to do it for them I often employ the "whisper" to help me get them in the driver's seat. It might be worth trying; next time she asks you to participate you can agree, then whisper, "what should I do?" and let her show you. Keep encouraging her with whispers, "like this?...now what?" etc. This isn't to say you shouldn't join in the fun, we certainly want to join in the fun and it's a great way to connect with them. But if they're showing signs of discouragement it may be that they need some encouragement in ways that are different from the encouragement they are receiving. ~ab

  4. My daughter does this. She will be 3 on Wednesday. I am told "Mommy Do, Mommy Do" over and over and over and over.... and if its not exactly right, there is often a melt-down. I often ask her how to do it. I will even tell her that I don't know how but she does and to show me. And I really really encourage her to try things on her own. When she does do something (even if its not perfect or how she thinks it would turn out) I give lots of praise and say things like "You did it, yaaaay Charlotte, I knew you could, you must be so proud" etc. OH and sometimes I WILL do it myself and just start pretending, laugh when things go wrong, and act like I'm having so much fun that she sometimes can't resist and will join in (but other times she won't). I hope this is helpful!!

  5. this is great...I did ABA/VB programs and then later RDI so I have been working on steering myself from the take charge with tons of suggestions...still really love RDI methods which is parent steered without being pushy or quizzing over and over...favorite part of RDI is the basic guide/apprentice relationship....just love learning multiple ways to approach parenting...being a mommy teaches us so much..I used to think I knew type of parent I would be until I actually became a MOMMY


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