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Parenting Interventions

The following introduction activities will introduce the key ideas that form the focus of Parenting Interventions i.e. classes or activities that are intended to help parents to think about how daily interactions with their children prepare them for engaging with relationships and learning.  

This activity introduces how babies and parents form joint attention on objects as a basis for developing language.

The following is adapted from Needham (2011) 

Read the following short introduction to secure relationships as a base for learning.


Universally, mothers establish, or are expected to establish with their infants successful routine interactions, clear patterns of communication, dependable emotional attachments, and to guide their infants through the first year of life. (Bornstein, 2001, p.270) 

Bornstein and Tamis-Lemonda identify four particularly significant functions in this dyadic relationship among many others: promotion of social understanding, development of attachment, acquisition and emotional regulation (Bornstein & Tamis-Lemonda, 2001). Each of these is clearly important and interconnected; however, we will maintain a focus upon social understanding and language learning.  

From birth babies appear both ready and motivated (albeit in rudimentary form) to communicate and share meaning with others. By two months of age infants engage in complex, highly responsive interactions with their mothers termed “protoconversations” (Bornstein and Tamis-Lemonda, 2001, p.270).  

They suggest that:  

By nine months infants demonstrate “secondary intersubjectivity” as they monitor and co-ordinate their own perspectives and attention with the perspectives and attention of others (Bornstein and Tamis-Lemonda, 2001, p.270) 

Bornstein and Tamis-Lemonda also suggest four types of care giving: nurturant (supporting the immediate physical and emotional needs of the child), social (developing the emotional, physical and intellectual skills to facilitate social interaction), material (controlling the physical environment of the child) and didactic care giving 

Stimulating the infant to engage and understand the environment outside the dyad, and includes focusing, introducing, mediating and interpreting the external world” (Bornstein and Tamis-Lemonda, 2001, p.272 

Once children are rolling and crawling they will begin to move away from adults and explore for themselves but for young children with secure attachments they will often only feel secure and comfortable to do this when someone they know and trust is nearby. They may be upset if that person moves too far away from them. They may want to move away and come back to their carer. Stay and play sessions are a good opportunity to build confidence to gradually increase separation from the parents in the company of others in preparation for attending early childhood care and education. As children are exploring they will continue to establish joint attention on objects and may often bring things back to their carer for further exploration. 

Essential parent – In Safe Hands – Alice Maclaine, Early Years Teacher

Using the link above, watch the short video on Treasure Baskets and then reflect on what you have watched using the prompts below.


After reflecting on what you have read above, use your portfolio to answer the following:

  • How do the babies and their carers engage with each other and the objects?