• Maureen Houtz, LMFT

But I don't know how....


Many of us didn't have parents who "played" with us. Many tell me they aren't sure how to go about it. Here are some tips- please note, criticism or correction aren't part of this.

Try this for a 10-15 minute period.

P Praise

Labeled praise specific- You choose great colors, I like it when you build quietly

unlabeled praise - great, that’s nice, good job

Labeled is more effective, it lets the child know exactly what you like

Increases the behaviors that it describes.

Increases self esteem and makes both parent and child feel good.

R Reflect

This is for reflecting your child’s appropriate talk- by repeating or paraphrasing "Yes, that is a blue crayon."

Allows your child to lead the conversation

and shows child you are really listening

Helps you learn to listen and

shows you accept what child is saying.

Improves and increases child’s speech and language

(This approach may seem awkward at first)

After a question, it is better to answer than to reflect the question.

I Imitate

Imitate your child’s play

Helps you keep your attention and comments focused on what the child is doing

Helps you play right at your child’s developmental level

lets child lead the play

Make the play fun for the child

Shows your approval of your child’s activity choice and

teaches the child how to play well with others, taking turns.

D Describe

Describing your behavior or the toys you are using can make the play interesting and fun BUT describing what your child is doing is especially important because it gives specific attention to your child’s positive behavior

State exactly what the child is doing "You are drawing a sun"

It is like a running commentary:

This models speech and teaches concepts and vocabulary.

It also holds your child’s attention on the activity and teaches child to how his attention on the activity

E Enjoy

Enjoy special time with your child

Act happy when you are playing with your child.

Convey enjoyment by: tone of voice, laughter, smiling, Positive touch, statements of such.

This increases the warmth of the play and

makes it special and more meaningful for the child.

PRIDE: Relationship Enhancement Strategies; Developed by Eyberg, S, McNeil, C, & Urquiza, A (2004) US Davis CAARE Center


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