Part of my school counseling training was learning about using play therapy with children (yes play therapy can be used with adults too!). Part of my parenting style involves using play therapy techniques. I do a lot of tracking to show my children that I am observing, paying attention, and recognizing what they are doing (it also keeps me in practice with play therapy!).
So what is tracking? Tracking is when you follow your child’s action and generally repeat back what they are doing. You are not doing this to sound like a robot! Here are some examples:
- Levi is playing with his blocks. He moves a red block on top of the yellow block. A play therapist might say something like, “I see you moved the red block on top of the yellow block”.
- If Levi walks over to another play area and chooses not to play with the blocks anymore and now wants to play with the doll house, a play therapist might say “You are deciding not to play with those blocks anymore and you are curious about the doll house”.
Those are just some basic examples. There is a lot more behind play therapy techniques to use with children, but tracking is a very important component of play therapy. Most parents already do some kind of form of tracking at home and might not even know it. When your child is about to do something wrong, you might say “I have eyes on the back of my head and see what you are doing!” Although that is not exactly play therapy or a tracking technique, it shows that you are verbally tracking your child’s behavior.
Learning to track your children at home is a good parenting technique to use because it shows your children you are involved. Trust me, your children notice whether you pay attention to them or not at home! Tracking is a good way to become more involved in quality time with your child. Some children might be annoyed at first when you begin to track their movements; however, they eventually will appreciate it and might even track themselves before you do!