It’s not uncommon for young children to believe that we, their caregivers, have super powers to read minds and know what they are thinking and feeling. If only that were true. But hold on. There’s more. Within our relationships, we can read our children’s signals and respond sensitively to their needs. Researchers call this back and forth communication, “serve and return” interaction.
We’re accustomed to our children needing us in a variety of ways. Sometimes it involves helping them manage daily routines, completing their homework, or searching for their irreplaceable misplaced favorite toy or blanket. Other times, what our children need from us is to “be with” them. Here’s a serve and return activity you can try with your child to see just how many times this happens in a day.
Say to your child, I have a game I would like to play with you. Tell them, what’s great about this game is that you always get to go first! While holding your child’s hand, encourage them to gently squeeze your hand. Let them know that when they gently squeeze your hand twice, that sends a message to you that they need a little recharge in the form of a smile and a twinkle in your eye. Serve and return can be this simple. Super powers in the palm of your hand!
Rupert Consulting 2020
SERVE AND RETURN