Child sits on ground and plays with toy car

Following Your Child’s Lead

Watch and listen for a while before entering play.

There should always be a nice balance between playing with your child and having your child play independently. Children will seek out their parents for play and it is important to make daily time to enjoy these moments. Some children are more reluctant to have someone join their play. There are some simple strategies to help joint play go smoother so our children will want us to play with them. Joint play also supports our children’s development in all areas of development – social, cognitive, language, motor and self-help skills.

Follow your child’s lead. Watch and listen for a while before entering play. How can you invite yourself in without a big interruption? As parents we may feel we have a great idea to share but it is best to wait and follow the play our child has started. For example, if your child is running cars up and down the table, you grab a car and do exactly what the child is doing.

Ask their opinion. Before you add your own ideas to the play ask the child ‘Can I show you something?’ If the child says ‘no’ be respectful and go back to following their lead.

Introduce a new idea. When you want to add a new idea to the play in order to expand play skills or develop a skill, follow the child’s lead and then expand the play by introducing one simple change. The child is running cars up and down the table and you run your car down the table, make the car jump and then finish running the car down the table. You want to stay as true as possible to the original play while adding one simple difference at a time.

At the Community Connections Early Learning Program, we provide a wide range of services, in partnership with families and the community to support the development of young children age birth to 3 years.

Our array of services include: Infant Massage, Parenting, Developmental Screenings, Developmental Evaluations, Vision and Hearing Screenings, Developmental therapy, Speech therapy, Motor therapy, Playgroups, and Home visiting.

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