CHALLENGE 1. Reluctant parents will rarely respond positively to a child’s requests for interaction.
All parents (and other caregivers) have a threshold of tolerance for children’s activities. Some are delighted to convert the kitchen table into a craft headquarters, but others are more willing to try fun and learning when there is minimal hassle and mess.
That’s what’s important — providing enough activity choices for parents that will be appealing to them. Parents will sometimes select a handful of activities from our decks and then share these choices with the child for the child to choose from. Toddlers and preschoolers easily understand the illustrations and are eager to pick activities. With choices, parent and child are both excited and already interacting.
When we created Bright and Ready decks, my former business partner and I had very different interests in the types of activities we wanted in there. If the decks were up to her, they would be very craft-heavy, and if they were up to me they would be very skills heavy. This worked out well, because we got a nice variety of activities in each deck.
CHALLENGE 2 Some parents don’t naturally see the value of play (interactive or otherwise) for their child’s development.
It is not obvious to every parent that talking to her babbling baby develops the baby’s language; that reading to her non-reading child develops the child’s future reading skills. The same occurs in with what seems merely a fun activity. It is helpful to be able to point out what skills are being developed and how fun can have a developmental purpose, as well.
Activities in the Bright and Ready decks address areas of development including:
Coordination and motor skills
Language, listening, and thinking skills
Color, shape, and number recognition
Creativity and imagination
CHALLENGE 3 Many parents think they have to spend money on toys, games, and outings to play with their children and show their love for them.
Like you see in the “Blanket Fun” activity above, materials around the house are all you really need for parent-child interaction. Event the poorest homes will have most of the materials called for in Bright and Ready activities. See sample activities here. Most of the activities set up in less than a minute, and the illustrations model the down-on-the-floor parent-with-child interaction we want caregivers to do.
Choice, information, and simplicity.
That’s how you put the “parent” into parent-child interaction.