All of these concepts require practice and repetition if your child is going to become skilled users of these social relational tools. They are not born with them. Parents can use these key developmental targets to build unshakable bridges in their children's toddler and elementary years that hold firm throughout teen years and adulthood. The back and forth a mom builds rolling a ball with her toddler can transition to great conversations during backyard catch in pre-teen years and wisdom discussions in adulthood. Strong relational consistency in the home overflows to relationships outside the home. When a child becomes a "pro-turn-taker" with mom or dad, they go out into the world to be a turn-taking friend. Success increases when parents can understand the "why" behind the "what we are doing". Here are the "whys" behind the PLA activities as well as a few long term visions (LTV) to help understand exactly where these foundations can lead:
(Some but not all of these will be targeted in each PLAtime)
Attention Span: the time your child will remain interested in an activity or stimulus.
LTV: your elementary child can attend to an assignment to complete it
Anticipation: eagerly waiting with excitement and patience
Bonding: "knowing" someone; really studying the intricate details of another person and increasing depth and amount of remembrance of those details
Breath Support and Direction: strength and endurance of lungs and mouth to breathe in support of verbal language and eating
Cause and Effect/Consequences: understanding that one thing or occurrence can spark a reaction i.e. if i push, the block falls down"
LTV: actions have consequences. We want to help kids learn that their choices have power to create positive effects or draining effects on their lives. Learning early and repetitively can decrease the hard lessons later.
Chain Reaction: one consequence initiates another consequence which creates another consequence in a sequential order
Consideration: realization that other people exist and they have wants, needs, thoughts, and opinions that may differ from mine
LTV: your child asks for your perspective, thinks of another person's likes/dislikes
Delayed Gratification/Patience: understanding the power of waiting for something to develop until it is fully ready to be utilized/experienced; whether a skill, a maturity level, a reward, or something for which one has saved
LTV: your child saves money to buy something that equals the cost of two or more allowances
Detail Distinction: deciphering parts or characteristics of something
LTV: your child can see the differences between shapes, letters, & numbers/ they make wise choices in activities, purchases, relationships, etc.
Description: verbally telling about details about objects, people, or places
LTV: they can describe where they are for you to pick them up
Emotional Vocabulary: words used to communicate a feeling or emotional state. Kids learn all sorts of vocabulary words-most of the first ones are of items or actions they can see or feel. Emotions are harder to grasp. These words especially need to be understood by both parent and child with common definitions.
LTV: your child can name and assess their own feelings and the strength of the emotion and choose other healthy activities that both decrease the draining or irritating emotions and increase the calming and uplifting emotions.
Energy release: taking in new information and stimuli can increases brain activity which increase energy in the body; familiarity can bring calming. Children are constantly taking in new information which means they build up energy and often need to just release it, especially before a nap or being required to sit still somewhere.
Eye Contact: calmness while looking into someone else's eyes during conversation, eventually gaining the ability to discern what they are looking at and/or how they feel
LTV: your child looks someone in the eye to shake their hand, your child connects with audience during a presentation at school, your child discerns that someone is not safe because they are saying kind words but their eyes do not support that
Fine Motor Skills: use of fingers to make small movements; these will usually also be strengtheners for writing
Giving/Following Directions: ability to both give and follow gesture and voice commands
LTV: your child stops immediately in a dangerous situation because they hear your "Freeze!"; they do what they are asked to do the first time the request has been given
Hand-Eye coordination: being able to coordinate eye and hand movements simultaneously to grasp or catch or make contact with something or someone
Imagination: the ability to envision things not part of reality
Joint Attention: when two or more people simultaneously give attention to a stimulus.
LTV: you share multiple fun experiences by you and your child looking at the same thing
Joint Target: two or more people aiming at the same target or goal
LTV: you and your child are working together to achieve the same end result
Leadership:considering the followers perspective and modeling the way for them to complete something you already understand
LTV: your child guiding a sibling, your child leading a small group, your child showing someone a better way
List Usage: reminder tool of what needs attention and what has been completed
LTV: your child follows a list to get all needed items for school
Listening: hearing and looking and processing audible information
Memory: remembering what is seen or heard
LTV: your child develops study habits, your child remembers all the steps in your directions
Memory Associations: similar to memory but with more emotional involvement. Tying a significant memory of an experience to a common object. (a day with a favorite person to a gum flavor, song, or kitchen utensil)
LTV: you and your kids will have ways to feel close to you even when miles or time separate
Motor Planning: brain tells muscles when to move and how (often subconsciously)
LTV: child begins to step forward before throwing because they have watched your model or you have told them to do so
Matching: finding the corresponding item whether it is symbols, numbers, colors, letters, etc.
Narrative: Practice putting together a story line
LTV: your child can tell you what happened when they were injured, they can recount the events of their school day in an understandable format, this helps with reading
Oral Motor Skills: movement and strength to move the mouth for sounds and eating
Patience: Waiting without frustration
LTV: being able to stay calm until it the scheduled time for something
Perspective: considering one's own point-of-view and another person's point-of-view
LTV: your child can see when they have limited information/ they can imagine themselves in someone's elses circumstance
Planning: cognitively determining a series of actions in advance and then going about their completion
LTV: your child tackles a project or cleans their room without assistance (** NOTE: the executive function required to clean an entire room without a checklist or other cue does not fully develop until later teen years) shorter term vision is socks before shoes, brush teeth before bed, pack lunch, etc.
Prediction: the ability to use experience to guess what will happen if a certain stimulus is introduced or action implemented
LTV: your child sees that danger is ahead physically or in life and making a decision to alter the outcome
Print Identification: seeing and recognizing numbers, letters, words, symbols etc.
Problem Solving: when given an obstacle or situation, deconstructing the portions in one's mind to form optional solutions and work through a process to overcome or complete the situation
LTV: your child breaks something but is able to find the best way to fix it/ your child is finds themselves in conflict with a friend but works to find a compromise or ask forgiveness so they do not lose the relationship
Role play: pretending to take on a characteristic or role
LTV: your child can prepare or practice doing something before actually doing it (i.e. calling and ordering pizza, calling 911 in an emergency, safety measures to exit a burning building calmly)
Same/Different: comparing/ contrasting aspects of two or more things that are alike and different
Sequencing: understanding what must come first, in the middle, and last in a series
LTV: your child puts on their shoes after socks, makes a sandwich, useful in homework and chores, reading
Self-Awareness: being able to study one's own being, thoughts, actions and motives
LTV: your child can describe themselves and their feelings, thoughts
Self-restraint/ regulation: holding back voice or movement to give another person a turn or to be quiet in a situation, not reacting when provoked
LTV: your child walks away from argument to cool down, waits their turn, does not just react immediately to some perceived offense
Sensory: information input that involves the senses of see, taste, touch, feel, hear
Shared goal/ target: two or more people working toward same task
Shared experience: two or more people experiencing the same stimulus with individual perspective
Symbolic Play /Pretend Play: the use of one item in place of another. This leads to greater problem solving. i.e. a block for a cell phone, a pan for a toy car ramp
LTV: you child can improvise with what they have to complete a task, they don't become paralyzed by circumstances
Teamwork: figuring out your own role on a team, completing your responsibility with humility, trusting other members to complete their own role but encouraging them if needed, taking credit together
LTV: your child shows great sportsmanship, builds up and encourages, does not boast
Time Concepts: for transitions, for task completion, for compensation, for delayed gratification
Turn Taking: back and forth reciprocity seen in conversation (talking then listening); playing games (you go then I go)
LTV: fundamental for conversation, taking turns with chores or responsibilities
Trust: believing someone is not deceiving you, will not leave, wants to be with you, wants what is best for you