The child’s game (part 2) relationship building with your child

toddlers sharing

The child’s game is the most important concept in relationship building with your child.

It fosters understanding, resilience and an inner confidence – vital for all children.

The child’s game is your very first step at working together with your child – relationship building.

It makes them feel special and gives you and your child the chance to spend some positive time together. It forms the building blocks for working through problems.

It only takes 10 minutes of every day to ‘do’ the child’s game.

Try to do it consistently every day whilst you are working on problems. It might help to put a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.

If you just do the praise and ignoring and consequences/time out strategies then the jigsaw will never be complete. Links to these supporting techniques:

It also teaches your child independent play so that by the age of 3 they can spend time playing alone. OK here we go…

How to do the child’s game

  • Join in with your child’s game or ask them to choose a game to play with you. Any toy or game is OK (but not a DVD or computer game – they’re not interactive, they’re passive choices).
  • Watch very carefully what your child is doing and comment positively on it, so he knows that you are interested. Try and give a running commentary. Also known as attending.
  • Imitate what your child is doing but do not structure the play yourself.
  • Ask your child what they want to do but do not ask questions about what they are doing (this is not relationship building and ‘it should be obvious’ thinks the toddler).
  • Do not tell your child what to do.
  • Do not try to teach your child anything.
  • When you start to play in this way, stick at it. It may take time to get used to it. It will become natural and enjoyable.

It takes a bit of practice to get it right, so practice and practice. Eventually it will become second nature, honest. I rarely play in any other mode now. For me it was a total lightbulb moment. A real ta-dah!

Links to the other parts of this series below

The child’s game part 3 – Teaching Independent Play

The Child’s Game – Special Time – Part 1


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Nurture Parenting's Karen Faulkner is a baby sleep and toddler expert who brings calm and sleep into families and gives parents their confidence back. Cerris Pty Ltd trading as Nurture Parenting - ABN 42 623 216 384 - Sydney, Australia

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