How to Give Positive Attention to a Child?
With the busyness of our own lives, it seems like a tall order to provide our children with the right amount of attention they need each day. Today, we sat down with Dr Kathy Bekavac, our educational and developmental psychologist, to ask her a few pointed questions about how to give positive attention to a child – the right way! Dr Kathy is an expert at assisting parents to find the easiest and quickest ways to give the right amount of attention to their child. This is was how the conversation went:
What exactly is positive attention?
“Positive attention means to give someone your undivided attention, and respond in affirmative ways. When it comes to showing affirmation to a child, this can include giving them praise, or simply smiling and nodding in agreement as they speak. I’ve found that the best way to give a child quality positive attention is by engaging them in a fun activity or game.”
How much time does it take to give positive attention to a child?
“Obviously, parents are always very busy and can have very little time to spare, but I encourage them to give each child at least ten minutes of positive attention each day. This positive attention needs to be direct, but can be fun and short. One of the best methods I teach parents is to play a quick game or share a fun activity that they can both feel invested in.”
“I often advise that the parent provides their child with a few choices of games or activities. The most important thing is that the activity choice is interactive and inspires direct conversation, so video games usually aren’t the best way to provide positive attention.”
What games/activities would you recommend?
“At Scope Psychology Services Australia, we use a few different games and activities to help strengthen rapport with a child before a session, and these games would be great options for parents too.”
“Often our go-to game is A Penny For Your Thoughts. This brilliant game is perfectly designed for helping kids identify and talk about their feeling, while fostering the emotional connection between you and your child. The activity is always quick and easy, for a parent and their child or for the whole family.”
A Penny For Your Thoughts (The Game)
Including 80 hand-illustrated cards and one die, these communication cards will bring new connection to your relationships with children and tweens. Great for parents, grandparents, counsellors, teachers, psychologists, and more! The game helps kids boost their confidence, solve problems, and talk about what matters most.
This playful card game is designed to increase connection between kids and adults, help kids identify feelings and share their experiences, and teach them skills to manage emotions and make good decisions.
“Another great activity that our psychologists often bring out are these Design Your Own Bracelet kits, which are quick and easy to design and allow for children to express their creativity and for parents to give encouraging feedback and words of affirmation.”
“Lastly, reusable sticker pads like these from Melissa and Doug allow for a parent and child to create shared stories together, taking sticker placements in turns and building on top of each other’s story.”
Why does positive attention work?
“Like the examples I’ve given, positive attention strengthens the parent-child bond and brings families closer together. When positive attention is connected to play, it stimulates your child’s imagination and helps in developing their very essential social and emotional skills. Investing time into positive attention is a must for building parent-child relationships, and it’s just as important for psychologists working with children and adolescents too!”
Look at the games category on our website for more ideas to incorporate into positive play.