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How do I ‘tune in’ to my child?

14 Jul, 2020

How do I ‘tune in’ to my child?

The Parents Plus Early Years parenting programme puts a lot of emphasis on ‘tuning in’ to your child. And indeed it’s not just in the early years that this is necessary. Right through our children’s lives it is important that we tune in to them, understand how they see the world and so get a better understanding of the way our children are behaving.

This is what John Sharry, Grainne Hampson and Mary Fanning, the writers of the Early Years programme have to say.

‘Tuning in’ to your children

Responsive parents are ‘tuned in’ and connected to their children. They are able to step into their children’s shoes and see the world as they see it. This is the best way for parents to enjoy their children and feel close to them. It also helps children learn, build confidence and is the best way to start solving problems.

‘Tune in’ to your child’s stage of development

Children develop at different rates depending on their age, their strengths and any special needs they may have. To be a responsive parent, take time to understand your child’s stage of development. For example:

  • What level of language does your child understand? (gestures, one or two word phrases, full sentences)
  • How is your child developing socially?
  • What tasks can your child do well?
  • What tasks are difficult for your child?

How to ‘tune in’ to your child

Set aside a regular playtime 

For children aged up to six years, 10 – 15 minute play with them every day can make a real difference. Build a daily routine around playtime, for example, just after dinner or before bedtime.

Watch your child at play

Notice how your child likes to play. What interests them? How do they play and how do they feel?

Get down to their level

Get down on the floor with your child to join them in play. Find a comfortable position where you face each other. This helps you make good eye contact and lets you see how your child responds.

Follow your child’s ideas and interests

Let your child choose the game and how to play it. Notice what interests your child and respond to this.

‘Tune in’ during everyday activities

Notice and listen to your child at other times during the day, for example, while eating breakfast, getting dressed, travelling on the bus together, and walking to preschool.

Your child is an individual

Every child is an individual and different from every other. Each unique child has their own particular things they find easy and difficult. They have their own likes and dislikes and their own personality. Watching your child at play is a good way to notice their individuality.

Some questions to help you ‘tune in’ to your child. Maybe make some time to tune in to your child every day for a week and then think about these:
  1. What does your child like to play with? What are their favourite toys and games?
  2. When do you play with your child? What games and toys do you both enjoy together?
  3. What level of language does your child understand (pre-verbal gestures, one-word or two-word sentences, full sentences)?
  4. How does your child communicate with you?
  5. What tasks can your child do well?
  6. What tasks are more difficult for them?
  7. How does your child like to be comforted when they are upset?
  8. What does your child do when they are really happy?

 

You can find out more about the Parents Plus parenting programmes plus tips and resources here https://www.parentsplus.ie/parents/

 

 

nicola

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