FROM KATRINA: I am taking a break from my regularly scheduled blogging about distraction free playrooms to bring you a fun technique to help lengthen your child’s attention span, its a twist on calling your child back to the game. Now, hopefully you guys have heard how to do this as it is the simplest way to measure how long your child is playing. If your child leaves an interaction (e.g. walks away from you bouncing on the ball), you call them back (e.g. “wait a second buddy, we were bouncing, come back and bounce with me”) if he doesn’t respond try again. If he still doesn’t respond your game is over. The fun twist is this: if his interest in the game is waning, add an extra edge of competition by playing the game with a stuffed animal. It’s amazing how if you offer the game to someone else (alive or pretend) your child might become more interested. This worked wonders for me yesterday!
The autistic child we have this week at our Son-Rise Program Intensive is sooo cute. He is four, has the most adorable chubby face,and he loves going for rides on our backs. Yesterday I was having an awesome ride game and we were going for all kinds of back rides around the room, sometimes when I was taking a ride break to help him say the word clearer, his attention would waver. He’d start to look around and not pay attention to me as much. To help him with this, I would model the ride game with a puppet friend. I would say, “oh, maybe you want to share the rides with the shark, here, its’ his turn”, then I would excitedly give the shark puppet a ride around the room. Sure enough, my little friend watched me the whole time and soon would want to hop back on. We did this several times. My friend who earlier had an average attention span of 4 minutes played a 26 minute game with me. Wahoo!
Next time you are in the playroom, give this a try. Add a little competitive spice to your session (Notice how the kitten is modeling her game using a baby chick -enticing and adorable!)