Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya
Parent child interaction therapy
Non-directive play based therapy
A child with behavioural, attention, listening difficulties coupled with a speech and/or language delay is going to struggle to sit still and attend to ‘direct therapeutic’ measures. However, through play a parent or therapist can still ‘teach’ and provide ‘therapy’ in a fun and effective way.
The playground, for example, is a great learning environment. Children can work on concepts such as ‘up’ or ‘down’ (the slide), ‘more’ ‘go’ and ‘stop’. There is also opportunity to work on social skills such as taking turns with other children.
Busy parents often find it hard to set aside time between work, household chores and minding to children to work on therapy targets. My first tip to parents is small amounts of time (5-10minutes) daily is far more effective than spending 45 minutes to an hour a day / a few times a week. My second tip is to get children involved in your household chores e.g. loading or unloading a washing machine teaches a vocabulary of different clothes, colours, concepts of ‘in’, ‘out’ ‘start’ ‘stop’ to name a few.
There are many of us who parent our children the way we were parented. I often hear the phrase ‘my parents did this and I turned out alright’. However, how many of us actually turned out alright? Was there some sort of emotional / psychological baggage that had an impact on us? Are we still carrying that baggage?
I’m not suggesting to praise the child’s every effort or word. However, specific praise for the effort is always a good idea. For example, rather than saying ‘good boy/girl’ for everything they do, state what they did well e.g. ‘well done for putting away your toys’.
Children are a mirror of their parents/ people in their environment. Therefore, we need to model the correct behaviour and speech and our children will follow.
“Don’t do as I do, do as I say” certainly is not the way to go. Children want to be just like the adults in their environment, whether it is to speak in a rushed manner, be organised with their things, eat healthily and even our judgements. They watch and observe us and become a miniature version of us.
It is therefore imperative for us parents to look at ourselves, listen to what we are saying, what is the message we want to teach / show our children and to lead a more conscious life as we consciously parent our children.