Responsive interactions between the parent and the child are the foundation of brain development and learning.
A great way to achieving a healthy and attentive relationship is through the Serve and Return Method. Apply these steps to your next play session with your toddler!
Here are Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child steps to practicing Serve and Return.
- Look for ways your child is asking for attention: before developing the needed vocal skills to express themselves, our little ones may opt for small actions to communicate that they are requiring your attention. These "serves" may look like slight body movements, change in their facial expression, eye-contact, touching, a small touch, or pointing at something.
- Return the serve: essentially, in this step, you will be responding to your child's cues. You can do this by reciprocating their facial expressions, returning the eye-contact, hugging or touching them back, or moving towards the thing they are pointing at.
- Name it!: name the object your child is pointing at or, the body part they are moving, or the emotions as per the sound they're making.
- Give them a chance to respond: remember that children are still learning and their response rates are much slower than ours. Wait for them then go on for the next turn!
- Recognize when they're done: practice "endings and beginnings". Is your child signaling to you that they're reading to move to a different activity? You can spot this when your child gazes somewhere else, drops the object they were playing with, or walks away.
Practice serving and returning in your next play session utilizing the toys from our very own Play Sets. They're science-based, educational, age-appropriate, and not over-stimulating. What's not to love?