Friday, February 24, 2012

Getting Parents to Understand That Something Is Important

If parents aren't interested in getting their child engaged in play, should I explain why it's important? Or do I model and share just about how to do it, what to do next, etc.?

No. Family consultation has to be responsive to their perceived needs.  If you’re asking about how to get parents interested in something they’re currently not interested in, think of it as a triangle. You (a) attend to their interest (b), weave in the thing you want them to be interested in (c) as part of (b), and see if (c) becomes an interest of theirs. For example, they are interested in their child making sounds with his or her mouth. You work on that by suggesting back-and-forth games (e.g., peekaboo) involving the adult's modeling vocal sounds. You praise the parents for playing these games and ask them if they’re interested in hearing about more kinds of games. If they say yes, you’re in luck. If they say no, you find another interest of theirs into which you can weave engaged play. Adult learning and consultation theory explain why we take this approach.